Sunday, August 14, 2022

High country rights remain the same, says LINZ

Neal Wallace

Changes to the rules governing pastoral lessees will not alter their rights, according to the Government.

The Crown Pastoral Land reform Bill will become law any day, adding new regulations and requiring consent for farming activities like weed control on pastoral leases.

There has been speculation these changes alter the lessee’s legal contractual relationship with the Crown, but this is denied by Land Information NZ (LINZ).

“These rights remain unchanged by the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill,” LINZ head of Crown property Sonya Wikitera says.

“The rent paid by leaseholders for their leases and the system by which rent is calculated is also unchanged.”

She says a pastoral lease still provides leaseholders with the right to pasturage, exclusive possession of the leased land, the right to quiet enjoyment of the leased land and a perpetual right of renewal.

“The changes are designed to ensure that LINZ administers Crown pastoral land for present and future generations while providing for ongoing pastoral farming,” Wikitera says.

High Country Accord chair Philip Todhunter says instead of LINZ working more closely and collaboratively with leaseholders to produce better approaches, the Government has chosen a “we will tell you what to do”, regulatory approach.

The Bill also ends tenure review and Wikitera says that work will wind down over the next six months.

“The rent paid by leaseholders for their leases and the system by which rent is calculated is also unchanged.”

Sonya Wikateria
Land Information NZ

She says the extra responsibility associated with the Bill will not require more staff and funding to administer the 180 properties.

“The work we do includes day-to-day liaison with leaseholders and their staff, consent processing, lease renewal, rent review, property visits, tenure review, lease compliance, requests for information etcetera,” she says.

There will be some change in its work on pastoral leases.

“However, the way that some of these processes will be carried out, such as consents and compliance investigations, will differ according to the new provisions in the Bill.” 

Some of that work will be done by service providers.

“In 2019, we transitioned our pastoral property visit programme in-house and no longer use service providers for this work.

“However, at this time there is no intention to move all of the pastoral work programme to being fully in-house and we intend to work alongside service providers in delivering our services under the new legislation.”

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