Tenure re­view dis­ap­points


The tenure re­view process is not de­liv­er­ing the right out­comes for con­ser­va­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Min­is­ter of Con­ser­va­tion and Land In­for­ma­tion.

Eu­ge­nie Sage’s com­ments follow the pub­lish­ing, by Stuff, of cor­re­spon­dence from Fed­er­ated Moun­tain Clubs to the act­ing com­mis­sioner of Crown Lands, Craig Harris, who is cur­rently over­see­ing a pro­posal to free­hold more than 1000 hectares of the 2600ha Fer­in­tosh Sta­tion in the Macken­zie Basin.

While Sage would not com­ment on the spe­cific pro­posal, she said tenure re­view had re­sulted in an ar­ray of poor out­comes for con­ser­va­tion.

‘‘There’s been a fail­ure by dis­trict and re­gional coun­cils in ap­ply­ing the Re­source Man­age­ment Act, and the Crown of­fice of Land In­for­ma­tion New Zealand (Linz) in ap­ply­ing the Crown Pas­toral Land Act.

‘‘We’ve seen ma­jor land-use in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion on the (Macken­zie) basin, but we haven’t seen the pro­tec­tion of the basin’s out­stand­ing land­scape and habi­tats. We need to en­sure there is no fur­ther degra­da­tion and loss.’’

Sage said she none­the­less had con­fi­dence in Linz staff, but would be look­ing at all as­pects of the tenure re­view over the next six months.

‘‘The fu­ture of the Crown Pas­toral Land Act and tenure re­view are un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, but any ma­jor changes will be put for­ward to the pub­lic.’’

The Fer­in­tosh Sta­tion tenure re­view pro­posal has been op­posed by con­ser­va­tion groups, the tourism in­dus­try and other recre­ational in­ter­ests, who want the land to be re­tained in Crown own­er­ship, prefer­ably for the con­ser­va­tion es­tate.

Fed­er­ated Moun­tain Clubs’ let­ter to the act­ing com­mis­sioner lists a suite of is­sues with the pro­posal, most no­tably that there was not enough re­search done on the con­ser­va­tional val­ues of the af­fected site.

‘‘This is a se­ri­ous mat­ter ... nat­u­ral val­ues’ clear iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is es­sen­tial to proper tenure re­view out­comes ... Fed­er­ated Moun­tain Clubs has ex­pressed strong con­cern about the tenure re­view’s data de­fi­ciency,’’ the let­ter said.

‘‘In Fer­in­tosh’s case, the tenure re­view has con­tin­ued re­gard­less of the con­se­quent ques­tion mark over the re­view’s law­ful­ness.’’

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