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Phillip Parcell’s property at Tarras. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
Phillip Parcell’s property at Tarras. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
Christchurch International Airport has not yet nailed down the final 40ha of land it has been trying to buy for a new airport at Tarras.

That 40ha belongs to farmer Philip (Taffy) Parcell, who has no interest in selling.

The land is where Mr Parcell was born 68 years ago, and where he lives with his two sheepdogs Spot and Joss, and a herd of cattle.

Unlike the farmland next door, his old-school oasis has not been cleared of trees to allow for pivots. It still has a ramshackle collection of elderly tractors and farm buildings, including a mud-brick teamster’s shed.

It was, Mr Parcell said yesterday, the last farm at Tarras to stop using draught horses and it was the second farm subdivided in 1882 from the giant Morven Hills Station.

Mr Parcell is firmly attached to what remains of the much bigger sheep farm bought by his father John after he served five years in the desert in World War 2.

He is disappointed to have been forced to sell part of it in recent times because of issues over irrigation water.

He firmly admits he does not need the money that has been offered for the remaining 40ha and had "never planned to sell".

Mr Parcell said he was not impressed when the real estate agent who approached him suggested he risked the Public Works Act being used to shift him.

He is due to meet Christchurch airport representatives on Tuesday but will be accompanied by a lawyer and is determined not to sign anything.

He describes himself as an "accommodating" person who can also be "stubborn".

Mr Parcell said it only became clear in recent days that his land was wanted for an airport.

Before that, he guessed it was being sought for a cherry orchard or for the expansion of neighbouring "corporate" cattle farms.

Mr Parcell said he had been asked not to talk to the media but did not believe there was any reason why he could not.

He has had calls from neighbours offering advice on how he should proceed, and suggesting he will be "in the box seat" during negotiations on Tuesday.

Mr Parcell said he was not "holding out" to be difficult but because "this is where I live".

Mr Parcell declined to be photographed but showed the Otago Daily Times around his farm.

Christchurch Airport chief executive Malcolm Johns told RNZ yesterday "all the land has been contracted that we need", and he told the ODT later the company did not require Mr Parcell’s property.

"We have sufficient land as it is.

"We, out of courtesy, approached Mr Parcell.

"It’s entirely with him whether he wishes to sell or not," Mr Johns said.

Asked about possible use of the Public Works Act, Mr Johns said: "that is not the way we operate".

Mr Parcell said last night he accepted using the Act was not a suggestion that came from the airport company.

mark.price@odt.co.nz

Comments

A comment from REINZ on whether agents ever make vaguely threatening comments would be useful.

Stick to your guns Taffy! Money ain't everything

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