7 Mar 2012

High country pastoral lease bill passes second reading

2:24 pm on 7 March 2012

Legislation creating a new way to set rents for Crown pastoral leases in the South Island's high country has passed another hurdle in Parliament.

The Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Bill passed its second reading by 63 votes to 58 on Tuesday, supported by the National, Maori and ACT parties.

At present the leases are determined on land value. The new system would instead consider the earning capacity of the property under a pastoral lease.

High country farmers took legal action three years ago against proposed rental hikes, challenging the way they were calculated.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter told Parliament the high country would be better maintained under the new system.

Labour's agricultural spokesperson, Damien O'Connor, said the new system would allow some farmers to get land cheaply and then sell it on at a profit.