Fish and Game is welcoming the government’s move to end tenure review of the South Island High Country, saying the controversial process has cost New Zealanders dearly.
Tenure review allows Crown pastoral land to be sold to a leaseholder, with areas with high ecological and recreational value becoming conservation land.
So far, more than 350,000 hectares of land has been freeholded under tenure review, with private landowners taking control of what was public land.
Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage today announced the review process would end, saying it has resulted in more intensive farming and subdivision.
She said that has contributed to major landscape change and loss of habitat for native plants and animals.
Fish and Game New Zealand chief executive Martin Taylor is pleased with the government’s decision.
“The tenure review process has seen huge expanses of public land transferred to private ownership with no benefit to the average New Zealander,” Martin Taylor says.
“Tenure review paid little attention to improving or even preserving the public’s access to the backcountry.
“The result has been Kiwis locked out of enjoying their own outdoors because provisions for public access were woefully inadequate.”
Martin Taylor says Fish and Game has battled for years to get a better deal for all New Zealanders and is pleased that progress is finally being made.
“Kiwis deserve much better - after all, they are the underlying owner of the land but were being cut out of the process,” Mr Taylor says.
“The Government’s decision recognises that outdoor recreation, conservation and public access are of vital interest to the public.
“It’s a great day for not only outdoor lovers, but also the environment, conservation and the public estate.”