An end to tenure review is a vital reprieve for some of New Zealand’s most endangered species, says Forest & Bird.
“We’ve argued for many years that not only is tenure review a spectacularly bad deal for New Zealanders, it’s been terrible for our natural environment,” says Jen Miller, Forest & Bird conservation and advocacy manager.
“It’s a process which has allowed thousands of hectares of extraordinarily special dryland landscapes to be privatised.”
Research shows that while most of the alpine landscapes which went through tenure review went into conservation land, the vast majority of the basin floors – which are the breeding habitat for high country birds – were put into private hands.
“We’ve already lost 70 percent of our dryland habitat. This is a landscape with an astounding array of biological diversity – including kakī, the rarest wading bird in the world. And yet in the last decade we’ve let more of it become dairy farms.
“An end to tenure review gives us the best chance in a generation to put this to rights and finally create a drylands park in the heart of the Mackenzie Basin.
Forest & Bird also welcomes news that reform will include better management of the remaining South Island high country leases.
“Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has managed pastoral leases very poorly, allowing discretionary consents which breach regional environmental laws and destroy native vegetation.
“We’d very much like to see an overhaul of this, with priority given to the protection of native plants and animals, rather than farm development.”