“ACT welcomes the Far North Council doing the right thing and dropping the plans to confiscate land from farmers and iwi,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson and Ruawai Dairy Farmer Mark Cameron.

“Private property rights are under threat thanks to the Government’s directive to councils to identify and manage Significant Natural Areas (SNAs).

“I attended a meeting in Northland in June with more than 500 people and the depth of feeling was clear, people were angry and worried about this policy. We’ve had dozens of people attend our 45-stop Honest Conversations tour expressing their concerns.

“The Council has done the right thing listening to its constituents. If only the Government would do the same.

“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.

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