• John Luxton
Land Information

"The Crown Pastoral Land Act was passed into law by Parliament today and will provide for the reform of the 2.5 million hectares of Crown pastoral land tenure in the South Island." Minister of Lands John Luxton said today.

"I am pleased that the Act is now in place. The diverse views of the New Zealand people with an interest in the South Island high country are honestly held and I believe this Act provides as fair a balance as possible for all the interests involved," Mr Luxton said.

The Act amends the provisions of the current Land Act 1948 that deal with the administration of pastoral leases in the high country.

"The Act will also facilitate voluntary tenure reviews and the freeholding of parts of the current leasehold properties, whilst enabling the Crown to protect areas of current leases of significant conservation value. This protection will be either as a part of the DOC estate or by way of covenants, and this protection, along with ensured public access to this unique part of our country, will be welcomed by many New Zealanders." Mr Luxton said.

Minister of Conservation, Dr Nick Smith said, "Sustainable management of the South Island High Country has been compromised by the confused responsibilities of pastoral leases. This Act will enable land suitable for farming to be freeholded while the more fragile higher country can be set aside for conservation. Over time this will see approximately a million hectares of land, that has the highest conservation values added to the conservation estate. Of all the conservation statutes passed in New Zealand over the past decade, none provide bigger gains for conservation. It is a very significant step forward in protecting some of New Zealand's most treasured landscapes."

John Luxton and Nick Smith joined together to congratulate Denis Marshall, former Minister of Lands and Conservation on his hard work in introducing and following through on the passage of this Act. The Crown Pastoral Land Bill was first introduced in 1995 and has been the subject of intense debate between conservationists and high country farmers.

"He has worked hard to find a consensus amongst competing interests. His excellent sense of balance and fairness has contributed to the clarification this Act will have for future high country farmers," said Nick Smith.