“James Shaw has doubled down on his Government’s assurance that existing land use will continue on Significant Natural Areas (SNAs),” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“Responding to written parliamentary questions from the ACT Party, James Shaw said he stood by the statement “existing land use will continue under these proposals,” regarding SNAs.

“This assurance will be hugely reassuring to farmers who have genuine concerns about the impacts this process could have on their property rights.

“The Government has failed to be upfront with the ramifications of their policy. Only a few weeks ago landowners in Tasman were informed their private property will become public information under the proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity, despite previous assurances to the contrary.

“ACT is opposed to SNAs because they 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.

“This whole process has been inherently flawed from the start, it threatens to rezone private land, picks winners and losers based on race - with iwi-owned land having different guidelines - and threatens to divulge information about private property to the public. ACT has had to repeatedly question the Minister to get an assurance that existing land use will continue.

“ACT will continue holding the Government to account on this issue. Landowners deserve transparency.”

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