Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Will Sage stop tenure review?

Last year, in a decision on irrigation in the Mackenzie Country, the Environment Court said there were strong ecological reasons to end the process of high country tenure review. The message was reiterated in a report last week on the future of the Mackenzie basin. And the good news is that, unlike her predecessor, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage might actually act on it:

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is not ruling out a moratorium on the tenure review process, as pressure on the process mounts on land use in the central South Island's Mackenzie Basin.

Sage's remarks follow the release last week of a $70,000 report on the future of the basin's governance that suggests all agencies work closer together to improve environmental outcomes.

Sage, who is also Land Information Minister, told Stuff she would be reviewing all aspects of the issue over the next six months. A moratorium on tenure review, as previously suggested by Environment Court Judge Jon Jackson, was one option.

She declined to mention other options, but also said she would be talking to pastoral lease-holders in the region.

Hopefully she'll follow up on this, because tenure review has led to the privatisation and environmental destruction of the Mackenzie Country. It has also been a phenomenally corrupt process, with the government selling land to farmers for a pittance, which is then subdivided and onsold for a thousand times more money. And that in itself should be reason enough to stop it.