The preliminary tenure review proposal for almost 5800 hectares of Irishman Creek land has met with strong resistance from the Canterbury-Aoraki Conservation Board.
Located on the shore of Lake Pukaki and stretching to slightly east of State Highway 8, the area under review is divided by the road and canal. Once it goes out of Crown ownership there are fears it may lose its inherent ecological values.
The Canterbury-Aoraki Conservation Board is an independent body representing public interest and has submitted letters outlining its concerns but is disappointed with the proposals.
Former board chairwoman Jan Finlayson said issues included endangered ecological sites and its potential loss of biodiversity landscape significance through the ability to oversow, top-dressing, cultivation and possible building.
The board does not believe the proposal meets the objectives of Part 2 of the Crown Pastoral Land Act (CPLA) which promotes "the management of reviewable land in a way that is ecologically sustainable" and enables the protection of the significant inherent values of reviewable land.
"This Irishman Creek issue is dear to the heart of locals. It's not just theoretical, motorists can see it when they go on the inland route and stop to look at [ Aoraki/Mt Cook]. I think it will resonate with people throughout the country," Finlayson said.
The tenure review process was not the same as the Resource Management Act consent process, she said.
"It is not consultative, only new information is considered ... the proposal does not meet its purpose under the Crown Pastoral Land Act."
To gain ownership of the land and be able to use it like any other New Zealand landowner, pastoral leaseholders must go through a process called tenure review, under the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998.
Source: Land Information New Zealand
- The Timaru Herald