“The Government has confirmed in Parliament today that it will allow land use on Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) to continue after pressure from ACT,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“This is a significant backdown from the Government and will be huge relief for many farmers. The Government has now given a commitment and it needs to stand by it.

“ACT has been seriously concerned that SNAs are a government land grab that would restrict property rights.

“I asked the Minister in Parliament today what he would say to a farmer who was concerned that a farm that has been in his family for over 100 years could be rezoned. On the Minister’s behalf, Kieran McAnulty said that the farmer could be “reassured just like his colleagues and other farmers across the country that existing land use will continue.”

“ACT believes any land grab is unacceptable, whether it’s on iwi land, farms, or any other private property.

“SNAs would 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.

“7,400 people have signed ACT’s petition to stop SNAs. The public have seen this process for what it is, and the Government has been forced to back down.”

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Mark Cameron