“Private property rights are under threat thanks to the Government’s directive to councils to identify and manage ‘Significant Natural Areas’,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.
“Farmers, iwi and many other property owners are concerned that councils can simply rezone and take land.
“This feeling was evident at a public meeting I attended in Northland last week with around 500 people who were angry and worried about the changes.
“It’s not just Northland, I’ve heard from people around the country including the West Coast and Southland.
“Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) will prevent landowners from being able to develop their land, but it won’t provide compensation. It’s a massive government land grab and an assault on private property rights.
“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.”
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