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.’’