Landowners asking for compensation

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 10/04/2014

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Enthusiasm for tolerating the disruption of flood protection works on private properties is waning as memories of the 2004 floods in the Manawatu-Whanganui region fade.

Horizons operations group manager Allan Cook said property owners were starting to ask for compensation for the inconvenience and lost production caused by flood protection works taking place on their farms. He told the catchment operations committee yesterday that at first there was a high level of support for work progressing as quickly as possible.

"However, in the past two years in particular, an expectation from some parties for compensation for any production loss has been evident."

Councillor John Barrow said he was "fairly disgusted" to hear some individuals were trying to get money that should be spent on rivers.

"I'm a little bit annoyed that some people are sticking their hand out for every dollar they can get, not acknowledging the benefit to themselves and others of getting this work done."

Cook said there had been no large claims for compensation yet, but he was signalling it could potentially become a problem.

He said that Horizons always fixed anything damaged during its works, such as replacing fences or gates that were moved to gain access.

Where it worked on land that was leased to others for grazing, payments were not expected while the land was not available.

However it had, on some occasions, paid small amounts of compensation. "There are situations where that is reasonable, and others where it is not."

Federated Farmers Rangitikei president Andrew Hoggard said his personal view was that compensation should be considered case by case.

He believed there was a level of understanding that some works needed to be carried out for the greater good, and could involve some inconvenience.

"There may be cases where loss of access to grazing land is minimal.

"But I think when a lot of other people are benefiting, and one guy is shouldering quite a high cost, it's . . . fair to consider compensation."

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- Manawatu Standard

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