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Selling off your heritage

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 am, October 23rd, 2009 - 16 comments
Categories: heritage, john key - Tags:


Picture this scene from times past:

Deep in the South Island high country an old sheep musterer with windswept face wakes up to a crisp clear cold morning. He gets up off a hessian hammock hanging between the walls of a small wooden hut perched on a creek between two bald mountains. He heads over to the uneven wooden bench for a hot cup of tea. Then without looking back the old man leaves this isloted shelter and heads off on his horse for another day’s hard work in the rough country.

People like this man were pioneers. Pioneers of what you could call quissessential Kiwi heritage. And though most of us are now city-bound, we still relate to, and are proud of that heritage. It’s that heritage that the National government is putting hard cold pressure on.

Turning the Overseas Investment Act into even more of a rubber stamp and screwing the tenure review scrum in favour of private development is selling out our heritage from under our feet. We don’t want American-owned multiplex resorts where that hut once stood, and we don’t want our high country lake shores clogged up with flash hotels for wealthy tourists.

Protecting our heritage is our right, not something that should be flogged off to John Key’s wealthy mates. As the Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism continues to push our Kiwi heritage to the brink, it makes you wonder whether he understands or even cares about New Zealand’s heritage at all.

16 comments on “Selling off your heritage ”

  1. snoozer 1

    The thing the Right don’t understand is once these things are gone, they’re gone forever.

    It’s like mining the national parks and low royalities for oil exploration. All the Right see is a cheap buck now, not the fact that these things are irreplaceable.

  2. gitmo 2

    Hello are you letting Winston Peters do guest posts now ?

    • Michael Foxglove 2.1

      gitmo – The false conflict Peters’ depicted was foreigners vs NZers. It doesn’t exist. The conflict I’m very seriously depicting is the wealthy vs working and middle classes.

      All Kiwis have a right to our heritage; above that of the selfish demands of the very rich – who in the vast majority of cases have no ties to that heritage at all.

  3. Herodotus 3

    Sorry to remind you BUT under the last government high country land was sold off, and if memory serves me correctly some of the land is being converted from Farm land to land development for holiday homes. Still great sentiment and worth following

    • Michael Foxglove 3.1

      Herodotus – you’re right. It was a disgrace then, and it’s even more of a disgrace now that it’s being accelerated.

  4. Mivchael you said…

    “We don’t want American-owned multiplex resorts where that hut once stood”

    Just another pathetic dig at the states from the Standard?

    Why did you use Americans as your example of overseas tourists buying up land???

    Why not the Japanese or Eastern Europeans? I would a larger part of people buying up land here are from those areas.

    But hey I guess America is a easy target for those on the left.

    • snoozer 4.1

      brett. I don’t think my Latvians and Estonians, or Japanese for that matter, are buying up New Zealand high country. Especially not these days.

      But hey, I guess it’s easy for you to make stuff up.

    • So Bored 4.2


      Foreigners might be a better term. That there are so many high profile yanks in the mix makes them a likely label. If you have half a brain you might see that this is not a left right issue, its a sovereignty issue, a local versus remote etc etc, too many facets to categorise in black and white terms of left / right.

  5. swimmer 5

    Fark! That’s all we need is our shrinking land mass being sold off from right under us!

  6. Byron 6

    Reading that I was half expecting the phrase “Speights: Pride of the South” to pop up
    That said, I wouldn’t disagree with the sentiment

  7. Red Rosa 7

    Tenure Review was sneaking some great deals under the radar, until the North and South article ‘High Country Hijack’ exposed this in November 06.

    Note the date. The previous government were happy to let the Shipley legislation and process run, even though Crown land was being sold at a fraction of its real value. The deals were confidential (itself an extraordinary feature) and the runholders in many cases then just flogged off the lakeside areas for development at massive capital gain.

    Certainly many of the runholding families deserved a good freeholding deal, but this was something else. To lease a station for years at about State House rentals, then pick up a capital gain that the Crown effectively gave up…no wonder there was an outcry.

    Interesting though to see the Crown appeal the Minarets station decision. $20k per annum for 20k stock units does look like a bargain though….

  8. So Bored 8

    It is going to be very interesting in the future post oil / globally warmed world to see the foreign owners looking after their investments. If they can actually get here they might find the locals have some other ideas about how the land is used, and by whom……money does not a local make.


    Not my point and I guessing there are plenty of different races and cultures that are, but the standard always has to have a dig at the States.

    • So Bored 9.1

      You cant deny that the Yanks have a very high proportion of the worlds (to quote Cullen) “rich pricks”. Yeah, I know its not fair or altogether justified to go the States….mind you when it comes to labeling all lefties are (according to the right) pinko liberal commies…….

  10. Red Rosa 10

    In this case, criticism of wealthy absentee American (or other overseas) owners can be quite unjustified. The high country is often unprofitable in cash terms, yet demands big capital investment in roading, fencing and fertilizer to improve productivity.

    Hence on many stations, a sympathetic off-farm runholder with long pockets, and a keen young Kiwi manager, make an excellent combination. This has been the case since 1850, and is even more true now, when capital improvements are crucial to effective management.

    Some Kiwi runholders have proven unable or unwilling to control (or even attempt to control) gorse, broom and wilding pines, as a casual glance over the fence can confirm across the South Island. Criticism of DoC in this respect needs to be taken with several grains of salt, particularly as it is precisely these areas which are being dumped into the DoC estate under tenure review.

    A serious audit of noxious plant control across the entire high country is urgently needed. It might throw up some embarrassing statistics for LINZ, which is supposed to ensure weed control on the runs, but it will also emphasize the burden being taken on by the taxpayer as DoC tries to get to grips with areas where there has been no effective weed control for decades.

  11. Roberto Smithsky 11

    You are advocating that we shouldn’t let guests to our country experience the quintessential Kiwi spirit. Even if those tourists are paying for the pleasure.

    Don’t you guys want tourism to generate revenue to support the welfare state?

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