25 Jul 2019

Tenure agreement reached for Canterbury high country station

3:32 pm on 25 July 2019

A tenure review agreement has been reached for the North Canterbury high country station, Island Hills.

Sheep in New Zealand.

Photo: 123RF

Under the soon-to-be scrapped tenure review process, leased high-country Crown land can be signed over to farmers, provided they set aside areas for conservation.

Land Information New Zealand said 1600 hectares would be transferred to the Crown as conservation estate and 3200 will be freehold subject to conservation covenants, that restricts activities such as grazing and vegetation clearance.

The remaining 200 hectares would be freehold without restrictions.

A spokesperson for the department, Jerome Sheppard, said public access rights to the land and surrounding areas had been secured, including access through Island Hills to Lake Sumner Forest Park.

The Department of Conservation would manage the conservation land, which features mature forest and a mountain range, and is home to native lizards, fish, insects and birds such as the New Zealand falcon/kārearea and black shag/kawau, Mr Sheppard said.

Earlier this year, Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage announced plans to end tenure review, saying New Zealanders had lost out in a process that saw some farmers on sell land at huge profits.

But Mr Sheppard said until changes were made to the Crown Pastoral Land Act, tenure review was ongoing.

"While the government has decided to end tenure review, the process won't stop until legislation is passed in Parliament, which we expect to happen in this term of government.

"Until then the Commissioner of Crown Lands is legally required to continue to carry out reviews. Only reviews that have an agreed substantive proposal when the new legislation is passed will be completed," he said.

There are currently 30 properties in the tenure review process.

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