TODAY |

Govt to scrap controversial process for selling off South Island high country land

Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage has announced the Government intends to put an end to the controversal tenure review process in the South Island high country.

Tenure review is a process where pastoral land owned by the Crown but leased by a farmer can be sold outright to a leaseholder in exchange for them setting aside other sections as conservation or recreation areas.

Some critics have said this has resulted in more intensive farming in some areas, as well as property being sold for development.

"Tenure review has resulted in parcels of land being added to the conservation estate, but it has also resulted in more intensive farming and subdivision on the 353,000 ha of land which has been freeholded," Ms Sage said in a release.

"This contributed to major landscape change and loss of habitat for native plants and animals.

"Tenure review has produced a mixed bag and has been criticised for a long time.

"It's not clear that the taxpayer has always got value for money.

"We want to ensure that we are good stewards of the remaining 1.2 million hectares of pastoral lease land; that farmers can farm while safeguarding the high country’s landscape, biodiversity, social, economic and cultural values for present and future generations."

The Crown currently has about 1.2 million hectares of leased pastoral land in the high country.

Ms Sage said legislative changes will need to be made to the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998.

Portions of the once-taxpayer-owned land have ended up in the hands of the super-rich. Source: 1 NEWS