Whether this is iconic New Zealand landscape which should be in public ownership and under public control is a matter of opinion.
The previous government thought so and took an aggressive approach to retiring much of the South Island high country from pastoral farming and putting it under the care – and I use that term loosely – of DOC.
This property is privately owned by people who graze it and undertake extensive weed and pest control. A lot of the neighbouring property was surrendered during the tenure review process and instead of being actively managed by pastoral lessees it’s being passively managed by DOC.
That means pest control is largely left to hunters who are given licences to shoot given areas. Their aim is sport not the good of the land, so many selectively cull to ensure enough pigs, deer and other animals will survive to breed so they have something to kill next time rather than aiming to eradicate them.
Weed control doesn’t seem to be happening at all as the land is left to revert back to its natural state.
But natural now isn’t the same as natural before people arrived so introduced species like gorse, broom and hyracium are winning the battle with tussock and other native plants and also increasing the risk of fire.
The photo above was taken in North Canterbury last Wednesday and it was very dry but grazing and weed control have kept the growth down. The growth on the neighbouring land has gone unchecked and it’s a significant fire hazard.
Misguided regulations on tree planting and conservation are thought to be party responsbile for the dreadful loss of life and property from the Australian bushfires.
There are fewer people and animals in the South Island high country, but they, the buildings and the land are also at risk because of policies based on emotion and politics not science.
P.S. In related posts on the Australian fires Not PC found a house that was saved when the law was ignored and one which was lost because it was obeyed; Poneke says green lobby demands were partly to blame for the fires and Solo asks can we get angry now?