“Associate Environment Minister James Shaw has today said it’s okay to carry out a land grab on farms, but not on land owned by iwi,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“This morning ACT congratulated the Government on hitting pause on Significant Natural Areas, where the Government issues a directive to councils to identify and manage SNAs.

“Less than a day later - James Shaw has walked back what he told the NZ Herald.

“Not only has he walked back the suggestion he’d pause SNAs, it seems now Māori land deemed to be an SNA won't need to get council permission for new activities.

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

“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 back down - on all of them, not just for selective groups.”

ACT has launched a petition to stop the Significant Natural Areas land grab.

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