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High Country Access Not A Problem

South Island High Country farmers continue to grant reasonable access requests says Donald Aubrey , Vice Chairman of the South Island High Country Committee (SIHC) of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc.)

Mr. Aubrey was responding following a meeting in Geraldine on Friday night to discuss the Land Access Ministerial Reference Group Report.

“High Country farmers reject the report's unsubstantiated claim that access to the High Country ‘appears to be increasingly restricted'. The Reference Group has not identified a stronger demand for a greater level of access.

“Federated Farmers' survey results show that well over 90% of titleholders allow access, despite a number of horror stories about the abuse of access privileges. Suggestions that the public has difficulty in gaining access are incorrect and this was supported by hunting and fishing group representatives at the meeting who acknowledged the goodwill of farmers in allowing the ‘privilege of access'.

“Over half of the South Island is already in Conservation land or National Parks. Where land is under pastoral lease in the High Country, the tenure review process provides the mechanism to formalise access if there is an obvious need.

“The South Island High Country Committee fully supports the objective of clarifying some issues relating to public access that are currently misunderstood. But there is nothing in the Reference Group's Report, nor anything that I heard at the meeting that offers a valid reason for imposing on the privacy, safety and business operation of rural landholders” Mr Aubrey concluded.

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