6 Nov 2008

Syndicate looking to challenge to keep grazing rights

3:22 pm on 6 November 2008

A syndicate of High Country farmers in Otago will decide after the election what action to take to keep access to its summer grazing land.

The Mt Ida Syndicate has been using an 8,000 hectare block of Crown land on the Mt Ida Range in Maniototo for summer grazing for more than a century.

Last year, the government agency that administers Crown lands, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), handed control of the area to the Department of Conservation (DoC), as part of a review of pastoral occupation licenses.

The syndicate of five farming families has been told it will lose its grazing rights in five years' time.

However, it has taken heart from a successful High Court challenge by another group, the Soldiers Syndicate, which grazes a neighbouring block of Crown land.

The Soldiers Syndicate has succeeded in blocking a similar move to pass its grazing land to DoC, on the basis that LINZ went back on an earlier decision to offer the syndicate a special lease to continue using the land.

The Mount Ida syndicate has not been offered the same deal, but it still has the option of challenging LINZ's decision by seeking a judicial review through the High Court.

LINZ says it is studying the High Court decision relating to the Soldiers Syndicate.