High country ‘tenure review’ to be scrapped

Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage:  Government to end tenure review

The Government will end tenure review in the South Island high country, Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.

Tenure review is a voluntary process where Crown pastoral land can be sold to a leaseholder and areas with high ecological and recreational value can be returned to full Crown ownership as conservation land.

“Tenure review has resulted in parcels of land being added to the conservation estate, but it has also resulted in more intensive farming and subdivision on the 353,000 ha of land which has been freeholded. This contributed to major landscape change and loss of habitat for native plants and animals,” said Eugenie Sage.

“Tenure review has produced a mixed bag and has been criticised for a long time. It’s not clear that the taxpayer has always got value for money.

“We want to ensure that we are good stewards of the remaining 1.2 million hectares of pastoral lease land; that farmers can farm while safeguarding the high country’s landscape, biodiversity, social, economic and cultural values for present and future generations.”

With tenure review ending, the remaining Crown pastoral lease properties, currently 171 covering 1.2 million ha of Crown pastoral land, will continue to be managed under the regulatory system for Crown pastoral lands.

An announcement about the future of Crown pastoral land management will be made on Sunday.

Ending tenure review will involve law changes to the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998.

That act was passed during a term of the Bolger/Shipley Government, and survived both the Clark term and the Key/English term.

Charlie Mitchell (Stuff):  The slow, sorry end of tenure review

For all of its flaws, there was something comforting about the way tenure review united groups that are often in conflict.

Before it was officially canned on Thursday, it was a rare piece of public policy that had few champions on any part of the political spectrum, despite the fact it had stuck to successive governments like a sloth clinging to a falling tree branch. There was little evidence of enthusiastic support, or even a vague notion of what was meant to be accomplished.

That was certainly the conclusion of an internal review by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), released last week, which appears to have sharpened the blade for tenure review’s execution.

It was a fall from grace for a policy that had started with promise in the 1990s, when there was multi-partisan consensus between farmers, conservationists, and public access groups that it just might work. You could give farmers more control over managing the land, add to the conservation estate, and improve access to the most scenic parts of the country in one fell swoop.

That vision, in practice, strayed so far from its origins that by the time it was formally dropped, it would be hard to find a less popular policy, particularly one that had been continued by four successive governments.

Many farmers and conservationists had come to resent tenure review, albeit for different reasons; the minister responsible for LINZ, Eugenie Sage, had once called tenure review “the greatest wave of privatisation since Rogernomics” and repeatedly pointed out it had been “heavily criticised” when she announced its cancellation this week.

But the clearest sign that tenure review was done came in that internal review. There were many criticisms, but the most telling was this: The Crown “does not appear to have a clear strategic objective, other than exiting the arrangements.”

 

59 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  15th February 2019

    a nice little earn…for some..

    Some of those who bought land that was formerly Crown leases include Peter Thiel, Graham Hart, and Sir John Key. Some of the most expensive properties advertised for sale in New Zealand are on former pastoral leases.”

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  15th February 2019

      So the Crown should own valuable property and do nothing with it?

      • Griff.

         /  15th February 2019

        I know its hard when you are blinded by your ideology.
        The crown should not sell our land for a few cents in the dollar to its mates.
        A lot of the property’s where sold in back room deals not advertised on the open market.
        We lost a lot of value and others made it at our expense.

        • Finbaar Rustle

           /  15th February 2019

          High country land put out to pasture
          Dairy farmers are milking it .
          Land shorn of its former mobs of maaaarino sheep.
          “High” country land to grow dope.
          #Animal injury may have occurred during this review
          ” like a sloth clinging to a falling tree branch”
          Although according to some reports it was
          Gerry Brownlee clinging to a 9 foot subway sandwich.
          Brunch not branch 🙂

        • Finbaar Rustle

           /  15th February 2019

          Yes Griff it is so difficult when one is blinded by one’s ideology.
          Thank Goodness you and I are not blinded by our ideology.
          We are totally unfettered by any such nonsense and remain
          totally committed to fair and reasonable discourse on all issues.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  15th February 2019

          How do we know the land was sold for a few cents in the dollar to the government’s mates?

          • Duker

             /  15th February 2019

            The numbers
            Former leaseholders paid the Crown $65.2 million for freehold title (averaging $176/ha).
            Crown paid leaseholders $116.8 million (average $353/ha) supposedly for the low value conservation land

            Example of one property Alphaburn by Lake Wanaka:
            “The former leaseholder subdivided the new freehold land, selling 193ha for $10.1 million, or 658 times the per-hectare price paid to the Crown.

            https://www.wildernessmag.co.nz/making-millions-high-country-farming/

            This was replicated all across the 43 properties alongside lakes that were before 2009 werent allowed to go into ‘tenure review’ precisely because of their locations.

            Would have been interesting to to see the staff changes at LINZ around the time the 2009 changes happened, people who would have avoided a sleepy
            public service backwater like LINZ like the plague suddenly wre interested in a job .

            • Duker

               /  15th February 2019

              Wasnt even less than cents in the dollar, more like 1/10 a cent!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th February 2019

              The bit you didn’t tell us: this land was sold in 2002 during the tenure of the Clark Labour Government.

              Colour us surprised.

          • Griff.

             /  15th February 2019

            Shell out $265,000 and collect more than $10 million. It’s one of several nice little high-country earners.
            http://i.stuff.co.nz/ipad-editors-picks/8659998/High-country-farmer-subdivision-profits-released

            That’s the mark-up that one South Island runholder couple made from subdividing some of their land freeholded through the tenure review process.

            Lincoln University academic and tenure-review expert Dr Ann Brower has for several years been following the money trail from the Crown’s coffers to the bank accounts of high-country farmers.

            Now, newly released details of some of the deals have allowed her to calculate the profits made from subdividing previously publicly owned land in some of the South Island’s most pristine locations.

            Federated Farmers is taking issue with Brower’s findings, saying any subsequent multimillion-dollar gains from subdivision do not expose flaws in the tenure review process.

            Instead it says they are merely a consequence of district council plans allowing subdivision to take place.

            Alpha Burn Station on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka and on the road to the Treble Cone skifield is one of more than 100 high-country farms that have been through tenure review in the past 20 years.

            Brower says that in 2002, the Crown sold 3365 of the 4579-hectare station to leaseholders Don and Vicki McRae for $267,500, the equivalent of $79.50 per ha.

            The Crown then bought pastoral leasehold rights for grazing and conservation of the remaining 1214ha – higher-altitude land – for $202,500, or $166.83 per ha.

            She says the McRaes then subdivided the newly freeholded land and sold just 193ha of it to Damper Bay Estates in October 2006 for $10.1 million, according to Quotable Value data.

            “That’s 658 times what they paid. Translated into urban terms, this is like selling a section for $100,000 then seeing it sold on for $65.8m four years later.”

            FFS they freeholded the most valuable portion for a lot less than what they paid for the leasehold of the most nonproductive portion.
            You think thats how the markets would have valued it Alan?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th February 2019

              What else would you expect from an incompetent Labour Govt, Griff?

            • Blazer

               /  15th February 2019

              @Al, a National Govt allowed this to happen,they introduced the necessary legislation to enrich their…own…just like Rogernomics gave away State assets for pennies in the dollar.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th February 2019

              Fatuous, B. National may or may not have enabled the process but Labour set the price you complain about.

            • Griff.

               /  15th February 2019

              Moving the goalposts

              Logical fallacy

              “”If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.
              —Unknown
              “”Everything is a boomerang if you throw it upwards.
              —Unknown
              Not fair, isn’t it?

              Moving the goalposts is an informal logical fallacy in which previously agreed upon standards for deciding an argument are arbitrarily changed once they have been met. This is usually done by the “losing” side of an argument in a desperate bid to save face. If the goalposts are moved far enough, then the standards can eventually evolve[1] into something that cannot be met no matter what (or anything will meet said standard if the losing side is trying to meet the standard using this tactic). Usually such a tactic is spotted quickly. Often, moving the goalposts is an exercise in slothful induction.

              The fallacy is an ad hoc fallacy and an informal fallacy.

              Arse.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  15th February 2019

              The story neglects to mention that the farmers held perpetual and non-renounceable leases over the land. The crown held little to no rights over the land. This meant the crown ownership interest was very limited.
              Valuations were carried out for all sales. I don’t know enough about land valuations to judge, but it is disingenuous to say the crown were owners and gave it up for nothing.
              The purpose of the reviews was to make land that nothing could be done on other than pastoral farming able to become more productive.

            • Blazer

               /  15th February 2019

              @HFD…’The purpose of the reviews was to make land that nothing could be done on other than pastoral farming able to become more productive.’

              and how has that..worked out?

              The purpose of the reviews was to enrich the few(1st ships Southern mafia and friends)at the expense of the …many(ordinary taxpayers and hardworking NZ’ers.
              🎉

            • High Flying Duck

               /  15th February 2019

              I assume the alternative was for the Government to have to pay the leaseholders the sums they ended up receiving to get them off the land.
              They were clear the Government had ownership in name only and the perpetual leaseholders were the effective owners.
              How has the development and all its attendant economic activity been “at the expense of “ordinary hardworking” NZ’ers?

            • High Flying Duck

               /  15th February 2019

              And please stop making defend Labour, who were responsible for most of the land sales as per the article Duker posted above.

      • Blazer

         /  15th February 2019

        God knows what Thiel thinks of Kiwis…citizenship by spin,20mil profit Valar nonsense,high country holding for a..song…thanks National.. your adoration of the wealthy is quite revolting.

    • Duker

       /  15th February 2019

      The leases were ‘created’ under the 1948 Land Act but in 2009 the new Government mad a cabinet decision which changed the rules especially around lake side leases

      18 noted that the lakeside policy means that 43 of the current Crown-owned lakeside properties listed in Appendix D to the paper under EGI (09) 115 are currently excluded from tenure review;
      19 noted that the lakeside policy is inflexible, has arbitrarily excluded properties from tenure
      review, and has adversely affected relationships between the Crown and lessees;

      That was rescinded and new rules that meant those 43 of the most valuable leases could undergo tenure review

      How about that.
      https://www.linz.govt.nz/system/files_force/media/doc/2009-and-beyond-minute-of-decision_0.PDF?download=1

      So its NOT really true that the Whole Tenure Review was something that governments ambled along under the same rules.

      The money people got to the new government very early ( 2009) to make lots of profit from the lakeside and most valuable land

      • Blazer

         /  15th February 2019

        Good work Duker…I knew it had the stench of Natboy cronyism.

        The majority of NZ’s richest have profited from cheap Govt assets.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  15th February 2019

        By “changed the rules” they acknowledged the exclusion originally included was causing problems and arbitrarily withholding land from tenure review, so removed the exemption with additional safeguards in place to ensure lakesides were still protected.
        Capitalist scum!

        • Blazer

           /  15th February 2019

          pressured by the greedy, they made a token covenant on lakesides to enable speculation on the rest of the holdings…at taxpayers expense…naturellement!🐱‍🏍

        • Duker

           /  15th February 2019

          Strange idea of urgent action by a new Government back in July 2009 when they were facing the teeth of the Global Financial Crisis… that they would change the rules specifically for 43 lakeside properties where subsequent enormous capital gains were made by subdividing.

          Extremely wealthy ‘farming family’ MP David carter was Minister of Agriculture at the time. Sounds this was something he worked on from day one of his job to have it ready by Jul 2009.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  15th February 2019

            So the Govt is a useless landowner so you want more of it. Typical socialist.

            • Duker

               /  15th February 2019

              What are you talking about …. even if it was a good idea to subdivide for enormous profits why didnt the value go to the taxpayer who owned the land…. you know the sort of thingy master deal maker Key was supposed to be good at
              But no , it was all done under the pretence of carry on farming …no on-selling thought about …we love the land …blah blah

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th February 2019

              even if it was a good idea to subdivide for enormous profits why didnt the value go to the taxpayer

              Because the Govt is a useless landowner.

            • Duker

               /  15th February 2019

              Not that useless ,mabe a 20% profit for the landowner would be a windfall. The tenure review changes made by national were designed to accommodate the people who lined up to buy.
              Landcorp has been a long time sucessful farmer

            • Blazer

               /  15th February 2019

              @Al…what is the Govt good at?

              ‘Because the Govt is a useless landowner.’…..rightwing ,puerile,excuse for what really amounts to corrupt practice imo.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th February 2019

              It was a Labour Govt, B. Suck it up some more.

            • Blazer

               /  15th February 2019

              Bolger and National…elementary dear Wilkinson.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  15th February 2019

            It was one of a number of amendments made to the act to clean up and clarify the process, but you stick to your guns Duke!

            • Duker

               /  15th February 2019

              One of the amendments national made was in favour of the farmers , from the rent being 2% of the value to ‘its stock carrying capacity’
              If the farmer cant make it worthwhile , like any leaseholder , its usually returned to the owner of the land
              But no , so called perpetual leases held by 300 families , the rules are changed so that they remain in control

        • Blazer

           /  15th February 2019

          portrait of an ex forex gambler and high country lease owner…

  2. High Flying Duck

     /  15th February 2019

    An article explaining the actual rights of the Crown to this land (spoiler – they were very minimal):

    “In the case of high country land tenure, the miscommunication has been to ignore the legal rights relating to quiet enjoyment. Whereas the officials administering the tenure process have to work within the law and take account of the respective bundle of rights, the media is not so constrained.

    This has meant that the media has been able to highlight a story of freehold rights for the lower country being granted to the runholders for an apparently small price, without making it clear that it is actually only the balance between perpetual lease rights and freehold rights that the Crown has sold.

    In essence, the Crown’s freehold rights were to collect a modest annual rental from the leaseholder and not much more. In contrast, when some runholders, now with freehold rights, chose to on-sell the property, they were actually selling the combined rights including their prior perpetual access and use rights. ”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/100991327/keith-woodford-understanding-high-country-tenure-and-the-right-of-quiet-enjoyment

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  15th February 2019

      Don’t expect the likes of Duker and Blazer to take the slightest notice of the facts. They’ll be trotting out exactly the same lies next time it suits them.

      • Fight4NZ

         /  16th February 2019

        Is that the same as when a do-up house in a desirable location sells for much the same as a do-up in a shit location? You always see that. Property never sells at a premium based on potential.
        What was that giveaway price John Key sold his tennis court for again? Can’t expect him to get real value for us can we? I’d love to blame him but I am too busy choking on hfd and aw facts. You guys are such encyclopedias. Or was that just a quote from another right wing spin doctor on a gargantuan retainer?

        • High Flying Duck

           /  16th February 2019

          Is that your way of saying you don’t like the facts, so will stick to the rhetoric?

    • Blazer

       /  17th February 2019

      ‘, when some runholders, now with freehold rights, chose to on-sell the property’

      How wonderful,a handful of families enriched beyond belief…thanks..National.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  17th February 2019

        Except many of the sales were under Labour, and the issue was created 70 years ago when the leaseholders were given perpetual and saleable rights over the leaseholds.
        You are making a partisan issue out of a situation both parties were equally involved in.

        • Blazer

           /  17th February 2019

          as D points out..the priority given to this right when NZ was gripped in the GFC recession ,speaks volumes.

          Labour did it too,won’t wash.Blatant cronyist capitalism at the taxpayers expense with a very feeble justification.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  17th February 2019

            I could equally say saying National did it too won’t wash…blatant crony capitalism from Clark and Cullen etc etc.
            Well over half of the total tenure reviews up to Nov 2018 (so including the first year under Labour again) were underway and/or completed before National took office, including some highly desirable land.
            Even the article Duker posted has as its most egregious example, a story of land sold in 2002 under Clark & Cullen.
            Bullshit and bluster from you to try and score points. Get over yourself.

            • Blazer

               /  17th February 2019

              looking at who the land was sold and then onsold to…tells the real story….get over yourself,yourself.🤦‍♂️

            • Duker

               /  17th February 2019

              Why did national change the rules for 40 specific properties in July 2009, while companies were folding, jobs were being lost.. what was those 40 properties had in common?
              Million dollar lakeside views they were prevented from cashing in on due to labours tenure review rules.
              the paper trail backs up my view

            • High Flying Duck

               /  17th February 2019

              Maybe national realised that highly desirable lakeside property had no business being trapped as pastoral farmland that NZ’ers had zero right of access too?
              Maybe they thought development and rejuvenation of that land would drive investment, jobs and growth at a time when it was badly needed?
              Or they are scum.

            • Blazer

               /  17th February 2019

              I’ll go with the last one of your options…Duck.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  17th February 2019

              Duker, Labour still managed to sell off the same, if not more property, and the financial result was similar across the properties from what I have seen.
              Tilting at windmills on this one.
              And Blazer you are nothing…if not predictable.