web analytics

The end of tenure review

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, February 15th, 2019 - 29 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, farming, greens, Politics, sustainability - Tags: ,

It is said that the worst day in Government is better than the best week in opposition.  That is because you can actually get things done.  Things that matter. Like getting rid of the tenure review policy, under which large tracts of rural land has been privatised and on sold for ridiculous profits and sensitive environmental areas have been wrecked.

The announcement was made yesterday by Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage.  She said this:

We’ve seen a very mixed bag in terms of the tenure review outcomes … [t]here’s been a lot of criticism of the process for a long time, and there is strong support across all of the government parties for ending tenure review and moving to a vision of enduring stewardship for our high country.”

So what exactly is tenure review?

David Williams at Newsroom has this scathing description:

Tenure review ends a Crown pastoral lease by privatising some land and setting aside the rest for conservation.

Bizarrely, in some settlements farmers have been paid by the Crown, because greater value was placed on their interest in the soon-to-be conservation land than the freeholded portion. Research suggests the more rare and threatened the ecological values of the land, the more likely it was to be freeholded.

Tenure review has been slammed by opponents as inefficient, ineffective and ill-judged – not least because former Crown land, once freeholded, has been broken up and sold to property developers for massive profits.

University of Canterbury’s Ann Brower estimates farmers have made $275 million by on-selling 74,000 hectares of former Crown land, at a median sale price of about 500 times what the Crown was paid.

Brower’s latest article, published last November, challenged Sage to turn around a track-record of Crown decisions allowing greater agricultural intensification in the Mackenzie Basin.

And who benefited?  How about Peter Thiel and John Key among others.

From Charlie Mitchell at Stuff:

Some of those who bought land that was formerly Crown leases include Peter Thiel, Graham Hart, and Sir John Key. Some of the most expensive properties advertised for sale in New Zealand are on former pastoral leases.

In numerous cases, land that was privatised by the Crown for significantly less than market value was quickly on-sold for enormous profits.

Stuff investigation in 2018 found that tenure review had cost taxpayers about $65 million, and, since its beginnings in 1992, had resulted in the privatisation of nearly half a million hectares of once Crown-owned land, some of which had become property developments and luxury golf courses.

The report that prompted the change was summarised by Mitchell in this way:

The decision to scrap the process appears to be driven by an internal report conducted by Land Information New Zealand (Linz), which manages tenure review on behalf of the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

The report said it was unclear what the Crown was trying to achieve with tenure review, and there had been a focus on completing deals.

It said the Crown “does not appear to have a clear strategic objective, other than exiting the [leases]” and the system had been “seen as operational in nature, which has encouraged a focus on processes at the expense of outcomes”.

It concluded: “Overall, the combination of stronger farming links, poor or variable quality ecological advice, and the desire to complete deals has meant development has resulted.”

National’s spokesperson David Bennett has the strange take that it is Government sticking its nose in where it should not.  It is a strange take that the Crown has no interest in the future of Crown owned land.

Well done Eugenie Sage.

29 comments on “The end of tenure review”

  1. greywarshark 1

    Eugenie Sage has carried out a practical policy with this finish to government’s (which?) careless lack of concern over outcomes in their high country. Good on you Minister Sage.

    • Dukeofurl 1.1

      The existing tenure review was hijacked by the new national government in July 2009 when they changed the rules to include some 40 lakeside pastoral stations which had been excluded under labour from tenure review.
      There are the ones where huge profits were made form onselling, as of course lake views are worth a lot of money.

    • Jess NZ 1.2

      +1000000

      And Good on the Green Party for whom she works and the coalition government that made it possible.

  2. KJT 2

    About time. Run holders that have benefited by decades of cheap leases on crown land, were enabled further benefits by “free holding” at well below market prices.

    At a huge cost to tax payers, who have lost public land sold at well below market rates.

    A rort which has helped various of the usual suspects,

    But. “There is no corruption in New Zealand.

    Where is the “Tax payers Union” when you need them?

  3. veutoviper 3

    Hi mickysavage, off topic but no Open Mike today?

    [Oops up now – MS]

  4. greywarshark 4

    Micky Savage don’t forget we really appreciate both you and lprent and Advantage an Te Reo Putake and Matthew (and ..vv and Anne and incognito and Ianmac and Siobhan and Sabine and swordfish and marty mars and Robert and WetheBleeple and bwaghorn and Patricia and Cinny and ……)

    And by the way if there has been a call for me to be censured for speaking out of turn, okay, I know I am getting stroppy. Over-anxious the shadow is moving fast and I don’t think that most of us are match fit. I’ve got this book of Fast Exercise and another one on Fast Diets and might get some ideas there that can be applied to using for the country’s condition vis a vis the world.

  5. WeTheBleeple 5

    Me poor brain wants to open mike about the huge cattle loss in Australia. Off to me PDC course tomorrow so no bringing it up then.

    1/2 million cattle is a billion dollar hit. In the article stating they’d lost 1/2 million cattle they say it was ‘perfect land for cattle grazing’. This disconnect between facing reality and viewing things through the lens of profit has to stop.

    Your money or your life.

    • veutoviper 5.1

      OM now up.

    • greywarshark 5.2

      Have I got a choice?

      Reminds me of the person who’d fallen over a cliff and was clinging to a bush. ‘Is there anyone there’ came the plaintive cry. ‘Yes’ says God soothingly ‘I am here. Just let go of the bush and all will be well.’. Silence for half a minute then another cry ‘Is there anyone else there’?

      I’m looking for a really good promise!

      • greywarshark 5.2.1

        Looked up PDC – there are 131 versions of meaning for those letters.
        I guess yours is Permaculture Design Certificate?
        When it’s over I would like to discuss stuff with you, to point me in the right direction at least. Would appreciate it.

  6. James Thrace 6

    Great.

    Now all that needs to happen is when large tracts of farmland come up for mortgagee sale in future, the government gets first crack at buying large land tracts and reinstate the leasehold process again.

    At least then if the state buys out the mortgagee and leases the land back to the overly indebted farmer on long term lease principles, the land will still be productive, the farmer stays on the land, the state receives payment via long term lease. Everyone wins.

    But what’s to stop farmers deliberately going into mortgagee sale? Nothing really. And why should it? I doubt farmers would want to be beholden to the state via leasehold and being restricted what they can do on their land and probably wouldn’t go into mortgagee sale if they can help it.

    Such a process would have meant that the crafar farms would have ended up in state ownership at first instance. If the state then wanted to sell it off, they could then split the various lands into separate sales instead of a bulk lot which Westpac did.

    • Dukeofurl 6.1

      They werent land held under a mortgage.
      It was a ‘perpetual lease’ which is what it sounds like, if they were seriously in lease arrears they would just have sell with payments from the selling price, but it would be another farmer as thats the only use under the lease.

      The whole thing was changed by the national party during its term in government

      There was the The Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Act in 2012 which changed the rent – to favour the farmer as the previous number was just 2% of land value

      But before that , just 6 months after taking office in 2009 Cabinet changed the rules about 40 properties that were excluded from tenure review as they had high country lake frontages, they were now allowed to go through the process.
      Some like Alphaburn Station beside lake Wanaka were put on the market immediately the land was freeholded and sold for a huge gain.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/105146853/after-taxpayers-paid-to-get-rid-of-it-farm-sells-for-175m

      You would have thought that the global Financial crisis was taking all the governments time in July 2009, but jobs and business werent in David Carter and Maurice Williamson as the responsible ministers had more important things to do.
      https://www.linz.govt.nz/system/files_force/media/doc/2009-and-beyond-minute-of-decision_0.PDF?download=1

      • Gabby 6.1.1

        So where’s Sirponyboy’s slice of the action?

      • James Thrace 6.1.2

        I am well aware of what tenure review involved thank you.

        I was making the suggestion regarding future mortgagee sales of farmland/pastoral land as a way to reinstate a small portion of what has been lost.

  7. Tuppence Shrewsbury 7

    Finally, a post about a government minister actually doing something. and something positive.

    Well done Eugenie, and by extension the greens, for getting on with the job of enacting their policies.

    I would include Hipkins with his polytech reform, but it’s still far to early to tell if setting national standards for polytechs will help anyone

    • Dukeofurl 7.1

      The Polytechs were competing for students , there were multiple campuses in Auckland, instead of focussing on improving pass rates and providing greater access for courses.
      national government had frozen their funding during most of its term.
      Its was around a$100 mill bail out last year and likely the same again with a few campuses compleley un viable.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 7.1.1

        I don’t have a problem with the plan of the improvement of the sector by applying national standards dumb dumb. i’m waiting to see how it actually works before praising it or criticising it.

        I think the ending of tenure review, especially for foreigners, is a good enactment of stated government policy. So well done to Eugenie Sage and the Greens.

  8. Gosman 8

    What is the issue exactly with the land being broken up and onsold?

    • left_forward 8.1

      I’m not falling down the bear trap again Gos. This is how it all begins isn’t it? – a simple request for an explanation… and then when someone takes the bait and innocently tries to he… zzappp!

    • Gabby 8.2

      What’s the issue with a 75% top income tax rate gozzer?

    • Robert Guyton 8.3

      “What is the issue exactly with the land being broken up and onsold?”
      You don’t know, Gosman?

  9. Yes, and Peter Thiel certainly knew what he was doing when he approached National for special consideration to become a citizen without any other accountability.

    He got the land and the money. Why doesn’t anybody stop to wonder how these businessmen get so fabulously wealthy in the first place? Not by making stupid deals and losing on them…

    I want to start a petition to revoke Thiel’s citizenship. Who’s with me?

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11794020

  10. barry 10

    The problem is not so much the obscene profits, as the loss of amenity value. The only criterion for freeholding was that it could turn a profit, which means that conservation got the land that nobody wanted.

    A lot of the land was wetland and other rare ecosystems with high conservation values and lakeside land that could have been great for outdoor recreation. Worse, a lot of the land left for parks is isolated hilltops with access only by grace of the owners of the newly freeholded land. For conservation it is best if different areas are linked by natural habitats, so that populations are less threatened by fire and climate events.

    Some of the freeholded areas are turning in to highly irrigated factory farms, which are damaging the waterways.

    The previous leasehold structure didn’t work and many of the stations were becoming uneconomical (as they were restricted from changing the nature of the business). Probably the crown could have bought off the leases in many cases for less than the cost of the freeholding.

  11. mosa 11

    Great news.
    This why i wanted the Greens to be in government.
    Another point of view from Idiot Savant.

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2019/02/not-one-hectare-more.html

  12. Jum 12

    ‘And who benefited? How about Peter Thiel and John Key among others.
    From Charlie Mitchell at Stuff:
    Some of those who bought land that was formerly Crown leases include Peter Thiel, Graham Hart, and Sir John Key. Some of the most expensive properties advertised for sale in New Zealand are on former pastoral leases.’

    So what year did key get his ‘formerly Crown lease’ land?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Zealand least corrupt country in the world
    New Zealand has regained its position as the least corrupt country in the world for the second time under this Coalition Government, says Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealanders can be proud that our reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world has been restored,” says Andrew ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Boost for Rēkohu/Wharekauri/Chatham Islands Community Conservation
    Community conservation in Rēkohu/Wharekauri/the Chatham Islands is receiving a boost, with grants to support local projects announced today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Rēkohu/Wharekauri/ the Chatham Islands are home to 20 per cent of New Zealand’s threatened bird species and 11 per cent of New Zealand’s threatened plant species. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Rātana Pā goes high-tech with UFB
    Iwi, hapu and visitors to Rātana Pā near Whanganui now have access to ultra-fast broadband following its connection, completed in time for annual Rātana celebrations, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The connection and associated hardware were funded from the Provincial Growth Fund’s $21 million Marae Digital Connectivity programme, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Govt’s strong financial management acknowledged
    The Government’s strong financial management and plan to future proof the economy with new infrastructure investment has gained further recognition from an international ratings agency. Credit rating agency Fitch has upgraded one of its main metrics assessing the Government’s books, lifting its foreign currency AA rating outlook to ‘positive’ from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Boost in Whānau Ora funding to keep changing lives
    Whānau throughout New Zealand are set to benefit from an extra three million dollars that will go directly to Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, the Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare announced today.  Including previous funding boosts, the Agencies will now receive $87 million this year between them.  In Budget 2019 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • More people getting into work
    The December quarter benefit numbers released today show the Government’s plan to get people off the benefit and into work is starting to pay off,” Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said.   “Nearly 19,000 people cancelled their benefit and went into work in the last few months of the year – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Wairoa gets up to $6.1m to rebuild heart of CBD
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing up to $6.1 million to revitalise business and tourism opportunities in Wairoa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF is funding: Up to $4.8 million for the Wairoa Integrated Business and Tourism Facility Up to $960,000 for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Major Events support for creative and cultural events
    Creative and cultural events that highlight New Zealand’s diverse culture and build national pride are set to get a funding boost through the Major Events Fund, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. The new Creative and Cultural Events Incubator, which is funded through the Major Events Fund, will open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Classroom internet in hundreds of schools to get a boost
    The Government has begun a massive IT upgrade to provide more seamless internet access to 200 schools around the country. Te Mana Tūhono – Technology in Schools work programme will launch with a pilot of 10 smaller state schools early this year. IT equipment that gives students access to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Construction workforce, apprenticeships hit record highs
    Working with industry and committing to rebuild New Zealand’s infrastructure has produced a record high number of Kiwis working in the construction industry and learning trades, says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. New figures available today from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Tertiary Education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ concludes digital economy trade talks with Singapore and Chile
    A new trade agreement concluded today helps New Zealand exporters and consumers take advantage of opportunities from digital trade.    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker together with Chile’s Vice Minister of Trade Rodrigo Yañez and Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, have announced conclusion of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to fund Waipukurau cultural development and tourism
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna -  Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project will receive $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to create an authentic cultural tourism experience, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today “The project will inform visitors about the history of six pā sites in Waipukurau with a combination ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 21 new judges boost diversity, improve access to justice
    Twenty-one new District Court judges have been appointed in a move that will improve access to justice and boost diversity on the bench. The new judges include replacements for retirements and 10 new positions. Attorney-General David Parker today announced the 14 judges who can immediately be named, with the remainder ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Puhinui to Auckland Airport in 10 minutes
    Aucklanders are another step closer to getting rapid transit to the airport, with the start of construction to upgrade State Highway 20B to the airport, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. SH20B will be upgraded with additional lanes in each direction, dedicated to bus and high-occupancy vehicles between Pukaki Creek ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Advancing New Zealand’s trade agenda focus of Europe meetings
    World Trade Organisation reform, agricultural trade and a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom will be the focus of Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker’s visit to Europe this week. David Parker leaves on Tuesday for a series of meetings in the UK and Switzerland that aim ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit counterparts in US and Canada
    The Minister of Defence, Ron Mark, departed today for the United States and Canada where he will meet with his counterparts.  While in Canada Minister Mark will meet with his counterpart, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.  “New Zealand and Canada are close friends, and share an instinctive like-mindedness on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government to deliver family carers $2000 pay rise, expand scheme to spouses this year
    The Coalition Government is delivering this year the changes to Funded Family Care the disability sector has long-asked for, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. “Today we are announcing the details of our big changes to Funded Family Care, including an annual average pay boost of $2,246.40 for funded ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Ko te reo kua mū: Piri Sciascia
    Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta joins te ao Māori in their sorrow as they learn of the loss of one of the great orators and spokespersons of a generation – Piri Sciascia.  “The son of Pōrangahau was a staunch advocate for Māori development and served his people for over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister opens new ecosanctuary at Cape Farewell
    A new ecosanctuary with a predator proof fence on Golden Bay’s Cape Farewell, which will restore a safe home for sea birds, rare native plants, giant snails, and geckos, was officially opened today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “There has been a fantastic community effort supported by the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pacific partners work together to provide additional support to Australia
    The NZDF continues to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles fires in Victoria and New South Wales, including by transporting Republic of Fiji Military engineers from Nadi to Australia, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark. On Saturday morning a NZDF Boeing 757 will depart New Zealand to uplift ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive PGF funding: A $9.88 million investment to begin the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt accounts in surplus, debt remains low
    The Government’s books are in good shape with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown accounts for the five months to November. The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above forecast by $0.7 billion resulting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Auckland focus for first Police graduation of 2020
    The number of Police on the Auckland frontline is increasing with the graduation today of a special locally-trained wing of new constables. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of eighteen officers from Recruit Wing 333-5 means that more than 1900 new Police have been deployed since the Coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Wairarapa gets $7.11m PGF water boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund is putting $7.11 million into creating a sustainable water supply for Wairarapa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The following two projects will receive Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding: A $7 million investment in Wairarapa Water Limited for the pre-construction development of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Progress with new Police station in Mahia
    Community safety and crime prevention in the East Coast community of Mahia has moved forward with the opening of a new Police station to serve the growing coastal settlement. Police Minister Stuart Nash has officially opened the new station, which was relocated almost 20 kilometres along the coast from the nearby ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Plans to protect the future of whitebaiting announced
    With several native whitebait species in decline the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has today released proposals to standardise and improve management of whitebait across New Zealand. “The need for action for a healthy whitebait fishery has never been greater,” Eugenie Sage said.  “Four of the six whitebait species are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New resource for schools to increase awareness and understanding of climate change
    A new Ministry of Education resource available for schools in 2020 will increase awareness and understanding of climate change, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The resource, Climate Change – prepare today, live well tomorrow, will help students understand the effects of climate change at a local, national and global ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting more out of our most productive firms
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has approved the terms of reference for an Inquiry into the economic contribution of New Zealand's frontier firms. Frontier firms are the most productive firms in the domestic economy within their own industry. “These firms are important as they diffuse new technologies and business practices into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZDF sends more support to Australia
    The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending an Environmental Health Team, a Primary Health Care Team and a Chaplain to Australia, boosting New Zealand support for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles bush fires in Victoria and New South Wales, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand joins partners in calling for full investigation into air crash in Iran
    Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters says that developments suggesting a surface-to-air missile is responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight in Iran is disastrous news. “New Zealand offers its deepest sympathies to the families of the 176 victims. It is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Staying connected to Australian agriculture
    Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, says the Ministry for Primary Industries is continuing to stay connected to federal authorities in Australia as devastating fires affect the country.  “The Ministry is using an existing trans-Tasman forum for discussions on the agricultural impact of the fires and the future recovery phase,” says Damien ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Investment in schools – a commitment to communities
    Thousands of school-age children, their teachers and wider communities are benefiting from the Government’s multi-million dollar investment upgrading and renewing schools, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “We want New Zealand to be the best place to be a child and that means learning in warm, comfortable and modern classrooms,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Defence Force sends support to Australia
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark today announced New Zealand is sending three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and crew, and two NZ Army Combat Engineer Sections as well as a command element to support the Australian Defence Force efforts in tackling the Australian fires.  The New Zealand Defence Force ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Better access to books for blind and low vision citizens on World Braille Day
    "Today is World Braille Day and I am delighted to announce that an international treaty giving blind and low vision New Zealanders access to books and literary works comes into force today,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “Today the Marrakesh Treaty and the associated amendments to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago