“ACT welcomes the Government listening to our concerns about Significant Natural Areas – but there needs to be a complete rethink of this policy not just a pause,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.
“Private property rights are under threat thanks to the Government’s directive to councils to identify and manage SNAs.
“I attended a meeting in Northland last week with more than 500 people and the depth of feeling was clear, people are angry and worried about this policy. I have had people around the country contact me with concerns.
“A decision by Ministers James Shaw and Nanaia Mahuta to write to councils across the country encouraging them to stop work on SNAs is a positive step but it needs to go further.
“SNAs undermine 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.
“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.
“Actively punishing people if they look after their wetlands is among the worst policies this Government has put in place.
“There’s a better way. Landowners, councils and conservationists already work together to protect indigenous biodiversity. Instead of land grabs, the Government should be supporting these pre-existing efforts.
“ACT is listening. Public support is not there for SNAs and the Government needs to completely back down.”
ACT has launched a petition to stop the Significant Natural Areas land grab.