“SNAs are dangerous because they take away property rights. ACT believes any land grab is unacceptable, whether it’s on iwi land, farms, or any other private property.

“Taking away the ability to manage your land the way you see fit undermines conservation efforts by the people who care most about the environment. Farmers have the biggest incentive to care about the environment because they make a living from it.

“This week I’ve spoken to hundreds of rural Kiwis on ACT’s Heartland Tour. SNAs have come up many times as a major concern. These people are passionate about their land and don’t want to see their rights to care for it eroded.

“There is a better way. ACT has proposed a $10 million biodiversity fund available for local government and trusts such as QEII to allow covenants with landowners, to ensure critical wetlands and areas of indigenous bush are protected.

“This means ownership of the land stays with the landowner, but they receive some support for the tasks they’re doing to preserve it like stock exclusion and pest management.

“If you take away property rights, there’s no incentive to be a conservationist. Who would be a conservationist on their own land if the reward is getting your land confiscated? Countries without property rights are environmental disasters.

“ACT is listening. Public support is not there for SNAs and ACT will get rid of them.”

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