Thursday, 11 March 2021

Stealth Bill will crush high country farmers


“The Government is showing extreme arrogance in its stance toward farmers who are deeply opposed to the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill,” says ACT Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“Answers to my questions in Parliament today suggest the Government knows the Bill will impose significant costs on farmers for little or no environmental gain but they just won’t admit it.

“Farmers are opposed because the Bill allows for a takeover of high country farms by stealth, using their concern for the environment as a pretext.

“The gap between how this Bill will impact farmers and how the Government is portraying it could not be starker.

“It will clearly deliver more costs and red tape for no environmental gain but, as usual with this Government, Ministers are completely dismissing farmers’ concerns.

“The Bill will stop any future Tenure Review, a process which returns land with high conservation values back to the Crown, and allows the farmer to purchase the balance at a fair return to the Government.

“This has led to much improved outcomes for conservation land, where it has been managed well by the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand, and better control over environmental effects on farms.

“But the Bill gives the Commissioner of Lands excessive control over how they use their land for lawful purposes including business, recreation, and tourism, and sets up a parallel consenting and compliance system in addition to Resource Management Act consenting.

“Or as Federated Farmers eloquently put it, a ‘solution looking for a problem’ that replaces existing relationships based on trust and reciprocity with regulation, policing and enforcement.

“Passing this Bill will be another huge black mark on this Government’s already broken relationship with rural New Zealand.”

ENDS