“It is immensely disappointing to see that responsible landowners are going to be further punished thanks to the Government’s National Policy Statement (NPS) for Indigenous Biodiversity,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“Farmers voluntarily let the Tasman District Council map the Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) around their property under the promise the mapping would remain confidential. Now they’re finding their private property information will be made public due to the NPS.

“Policymakers seem to forget that these areas of conservation wouldn’t exist without the decades of environmental stewardship these landowners have already been responsible for.

“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.

“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 now it is threatening to divulge information about private property rights to the public. ACT says the Government should scrap it now.

“Labour Party Minister Kieran McAnulty told ACT in Parliament two weeks ago that concerned farmers could be “reassured just like his colleagues and other farmers across the country that existing land use will continue.” Labour needs to stand by this commitment.

"They need to also commit to not revealing landowners’ private property information to the public.

“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. SNAs need to go.”

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Mark Cameron