Fish and Game is seeking a High Court declaration challenging the right of farmers to restrict access to their properties.
Federated Farmers High Country chairman Donald Aubrey says that would give people the right to wander at will with loaded firearms.
“It appears to me that this action is to gain access to privately held land for Fish and Game members,” Mr Aubrey said.
Mr Aubrey says farmers with pastoral leases, like any person who rents a home in New Zealand, has the right to exclude others and feel safe and secure in the place they pay rent for.
“House tenants don’t expect other people to have 24 hour access to their homes. Why should it be any different for farmers? Even though the scale is different, the ramifications are not.
“High country farming families have strong relationships with fishermen, hunters and other recreational users. This action by Fish and Game is likely to destroy this goodwill.
Property rights do not vary with size and the fact that the Government owns it is irrelevant. No-one could wander round the section of a state house with a loaded firearm and the reasons which make that illegal also apply to farms, whether they are pastoral leasehold or freehold properties.
Unfettered access, with or without firearms, could disturb stock and interfere with farmwork; and while most hunters are responsible people that doesn’t give them automatic access to other people’s properties.
High country families are geographically isolated which provides more than enough challenges without allowing people to wander round their properties at will with firearms.