Bill raises ‘bureaucratic nightmare’ fears

Many high country farmers would like to discuss MP Eugenie Sage’s Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill...
Many high country farmers would like to discuss MP Eugenie Sage’s Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill with her in person before it becomes law, as many have concerns. PHOTO: NOKOMAI STATION
Brian Hore wants to invite Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage to his Northern Southland property so she can see the impact her Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill will have on the land he and his family have safeguarded since 1950.

The Bill, which recently had its first reading, will end tenure review and is designed to improve the management of 1.2million hectares of Crown pastoral land.

Nokomai Station runs from the Mataura River to the top of the Garvie Mountains and the family has 38,000ha under pastoral lease.

"Our high country land is used for grazing in the summer to spare and protect the lower country, which does get dry during the summer.

"The Bill is being introduced because of increased public concerns about the administration of the land but we don’t want a bureaucratic nightmare."

Mr Hore was one of 3000 who made a submission during the consultation last year.

"[Ms] Sage has not taken the time to visit and talk to lessees that I know of.

"I would invite her to come see us and talk about the issues," Mr Hore said.

He promised her a spectacular day out among some of the most stunning scenery in the country, on land which was in production and produced some of the world’s best wool.

The new Bill changes some permitted activities to discretionary ones, while others will require resource consents.

Some low-impact activities will not require permission, while others such as draining, ploughing and crop cultivation on wetlands (except when taking water for stock), digging a long drop, burying a dead animal within 20m of a water body and "spray and pray" activities (which could include the destruction of native plants) will be prohibited.

Other activities such as oversowing and topdressing will become discretionary.

"It is mainly about restriction of future development of pastoral lease land.

"If farmers want to oversow new areas of high country to better utilise it for stock, then there is likely to be difficulties."

The ability to spray invasive weeds concerned him.

After tenure review in some other areas, some ungrazed areas reverted to wilding pine, hieracium and other exotic weeds.

"Farmers are responsible for controling invasive weeds and we don’t argue with that.

"If the Bill is introduced, we will have to apply for a resource consent to spray more than 25ha of invasive weeds over a five-year period.

"If there is any native vegetation [on the site] we may not get the consent to spray it."

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