Tenure review agreements reached for Simons Pass and Twin Peaks

5 September 2020

The completion of tenure reviews for Simons Pass and Twin Peaks pastoral leases will see 4,700 hectares in the iconic Mackenzie Basin become public conservation land.

Tenure review is a process by which pastoral lease land with high conservation values is protected and restored to full Crown ownership as conservation land, enabling public access and recreation, while land capable of economic use is freeholded to the leaseholder.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) Deputy Chief Executive Crown Property Jerome Sheppard says 3,100 hectares (56 percent) of Simons Pass pastoral lease will become conservation land. This is more than double the amount originally proposed, he says.

Separate to the tenure review agreement, the leaseholder, Murray Valentine, has agreed to transfer an additional 1,200 hectares of his existing freehold land along the Pukaki and Tekapo Rivers to become conservation land.

“Securing this land is a significant outcome for the protection of lowland biodiversity, public access and recreation in the Mackenzie Basin. It strikes a balance between farming and protecting the unique values of the Basin,” Mr Sheppard says.

Mr Valentine will obtain freehold ownership of 2,400 hectares of the pastoral lease. Consents are held for the irrigation of most of this land.

LINZ understands that plans for the construction of any additional dairy platforms are no longer being considered with the focus now shifting to other forms of irrigated farming. 

As a condition of his irrigation consents, Mr Valentine will continue to have a role in the restoration and recovery of some of the land to become conservation land, including an annual contribution of $100,000 towards this work.

Under the tenure review agreement for Twin Peaks, about 1,600 hectares will become conservation land. Of this, 138 hectares will become a scientific reserve to protect one of the last remaining outwash plains in Omarama.

This new conservation land will also connect Killermont and Oteake Conservation Areas.

“This land is like the last Lego block as it’s joined two existing conservation areas – Killermont and Oteake – which is a wonderful outcome for the public.”

The Twin Peaks leaseholder will secure freehold ownership of 1,800 hectares.

“I want to acknowledge the Simons Pass and Twin Peaks leaseholders for taking care of the land, and their willingness to offer this land to the Crown to protect for generations to come.”

Mr Sheppard says while the Government made the decision to end tenure review in 2018, the process is ongoing until the legislation changes. The Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill recently had its first reading in Parliament and submissions are now open.

There are currently 28 properties in tenure review.

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