The ODT sums up the issues around pastoral leases well and concludes:
High country farmers could be forgiven for feeling they have been under siege in recent years, that their way of life and knowledge and – perhaps most significantly their intergenerational attachment to the land – was being disregarded by some.
The key issue is surely what is best for the land and its greatest immediate threat is from the spread of wilding conifers, broom and rabbits
At a time when the Department of Conservation is having its budget squeezed, it makes sense to rely more on the emotional attachment and land management skills of those on the land.
Legislation governing tenure review has returning land to the state as the preference but that isn’t necessarily best.
Huge tracts of high country are already locked up in the conservation estate, some of it is of low conservation value and all of it is expensive to maintain.
Land, flora and fauna can be and are conserved under private ownership at little or no cost to the taxpayer.