Tenure review halt ‘an option’
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is not ruling out a moratorium on the tenure review process, as pressure on the process mounts on land use in the central South Island’s Mackenzie Basin.
Sage’s remarks follow the release last week of a $70,000 report on the future of the basin’s governance that suggests all agencies work closer together to improve environmental outcomes.
Sage, who is also Land Information Minister, told Stuff she would be reviewing all aspects of the issue over the next six months.
A moratorium on tenure review, as previously suggested by Environment Court Judge Jon Jackson, was one option.
She declined to mention other options, but also said she would be talking to pastoral lease-holders in the region.
The Conservation Minister added: ‘‘It’s too early to say. But we need to do much better.’’
Sage said the previous Government had failed the Mackenzie Basin by letting land use intensification to increase in vulnerable areas.
‘‘The previous lassiez approach has not worked.
‘‘This Government is determined to do the right thing by the Mackenzie Basin,’’ Sage said.
Tenure review is a process that began under the Crown Pastoral Lands Act in 1998.
Tenure review allows the Crown to identify and release the land from a pastoral lease. faire
Since it began, more than 51 pastoral leases in the Mackenzie and Waitaki districts have been offered to join the process.
Of those 23 have completed the process, 15 are under review and 13 are not involved in the process.
It is estimated in the Mackenzie Report that 88,336 hectares - roughly one third of the 269,000 hectares in the Mackenzie Basin area - has been made freehold in the time since enactment of the Crown Pastoral Lands Act.
It has been the source of much controversy, particularly from environmental groups, who feel that parts of the basin have been effectively privatised in the process.
Forest and Bird Canterbury field officer Jen Miller said the Conservation Minister had enough information in front of her to suggest that the current tenure review process was not working.
‘‘We are concerned the Crown Pastoral Lands Act is not fit for purpose. There is a need for at least a pause on the tenure review process,’’ said Miller.
She said there was increasing concern about the loss of habitat and ecological values in some of the more vulnerable areas of the Mackenzie Basin.
‘‘The agencies have not been working together to produce optimal outcomes. We worry that Land Information New Zealand and Department of Conservation have in the past been talking past each other.’’
Federated Mountain Clubs president Peter Wilson said the organisation did not support a moratorium on tenure review.
Instead, the organisation wanted the findings of the Mackenzie Report implemented, which include empowering the Mackenzie Trust to look at all sides of the issue.
The report also proposes ‘‘drylands reserve park’’.
‘‘But it needs to be done very swiftly. What we’ve had over the last few years is inaction and letting the issue fester,’’ Wilson said.
Andrew Simpson, of Balmoral Station, said there was much public confusion over the tenure review process.
‘‘There is an expectation that tenure review controls land use, which is not correct,’’ Simpson said.
‘‘There is confusion over the rights of the pastoral lease holder.
‘‘Tenure review was designed to give those that go through the process a fee-simple title on one hand, while it allows the Crown the right to put in place those areas which do have conservational values into full control.’’ a
Incidents reported by Timaru police include:
Police and fire crews were called to a cabbage tree on fire near Theodosia St on Tuesday. Crews were called at 1am.
A woman was arrested in Timaru on Monday for a historic burglary she allegedly committed in Christchurch.
A potential domestic incident was reported by a Simmons Street resident on Monday night. The resident told police she could hear yelling and screaming coming from a neighbour’s house. Police attended but the occupants of the house were unco-operative.
A sum of cash was stolen from a house in Richmond Street on Sunday. The residents came home to find their front doors wide open and $220 missing.
A youth allegedly committed an assault on Stafford Street on Sunday. He has been referred to youth aid.
Burglaries remain unsolved
Senior Constable Russell Halkett said there are still no leads into three burglaries on February 18. The Cave Store, the Fairlie BP service station, and Geraldine’s On the Spot Dairy were all broken into and had significant amounts of tobacco and cigarettes stolen. . Police believe the burglaries, which happened 3am4.40, are linked.
No police open day
Mid-South Canterbury police area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin says the region will not be holding open day events. It emerged on Tuesday that Nelson, Marlborough, and West Coast police are hosting open day events across the Tasman District next month, in what is a chance to connect with police. Gaskin said the only station hosting an open day in Canterbury will be Christchurch central.
Mainland netball selection
Timaru netballers Nicola Mackle and Laura Dorgan have been named in the Mainland Beko Squad for 2018. The former Canterbury Tactix midcourter Mackle has been named pending an exemption from Netball New Zealand. The team open their campaign against Central on May 13 in Porirua.
SC cricket team
The South Canterbury under 16 cricket side to play Mid Canterbury at Geraldine on Sunday is: Fletcher Rhodes, Flynn Smith, Ross McCulloch, Toby Clemett, Jarrod Phillips, Ben Cosgriff, George Kerr, Flynn Linton, Lucas Histen, Patrick Goodwin, Reece Burtenshaw and Harper McKerrow.