Covenants protect land in perpetuity

18/07/2016

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the QEII National Trust, upholding the protection of its covenants:

. . .Spanning 4 years, the case has been taken as far as the High Court and on to the Court of Appeal by the property developer, who has been trying to overturn the 404ha forest covenant he owns on the Coromandel Peninsula. His intention was to have the covenant removed so the land could then be subdivided for lifestyle blocks, to the detriment of the protected area’s ecological values and the intentions of the original covenantor. The covenant agreement allows for the construction of one dwelling only.

The land in question was covenanted in 1997 to protect a block of lowland tawa-towai forest. The block sits within a network of other protected lands that together form a wildlife corridor, connecting the Coromandel Forest Park in the middle of the Coromandel Peninsula to the Peninsula’s eastern coast.

National Trust Legal Manager, Paul Kirby, said the latest ruling has further strengthened open space covenants as an excellent mechanism for protecting land.

‘This win exemplifies the purpose of the National Trust as the perpetual Trustee of covenants,’ Mr Kirby said.

 ‘With the ruling in favour of the National Trust, the intentions and wishes of the original covenantor, who is now deceased, have been honoured and upheld when he was not here to do that himself,’ he said.

Described as a ‘complex’ case by the Court, the decision has established new case law and corroborates existing case law from a previous High Court hearing on the same matter, confirming that open space covenants have the protection of ‘indefeasibility’ under the Land Transfer Act. It has been confirmed in law that, once registered on a land title, open space covenants bind current and future owners and are not susceptible to attack arising from defects or error.

The Court confirmed that the National Trust acted in the best interests of the original covenantor, Mr Russell, and fulfilled its statutory mandate for the benefit of the people of New Zealand. It also awarded the highest possible costs to the National Trust.

The National Trust’s Chief Executive, Mike Jebson is delighted with the outcome.

‘It has been a time consuming and costly exercise but we now have excellent case law that should categorically put an end to any similar challenges on the status of open space covenants,’ he said.

‘We are a charity organisation with limited funds but this case was something that we could not afford to drop. It has diverted precious funds that would normally have been used for protecting land and supporting covenantors. We are hugely relieved, therefore, that some of our costs will be recovered with this decision,’ he said. . . 

Federated Farmers supports the ruling:

Federated Farmers environment spokesman Chris Allen says the decision ensures a new landowner cannot get open space covenants lifted so they build on the land, in this case a developer wanting to build lifestyle blocks.

“As landowners, farmers are some of the biggest contributors to environmental protection in New Zealand.

“Farmers care deeply about the environment and leave a protected legacy for future generations. Our members are extremely proud of their work and achievements on their farms to protect and enhance biodiversity,” Mr Allan said.

“This latest ruling in the Coromandel shows open space covenants as an excellent mechanism for protecting land; even better than District Plans and arguably more than National Parks.”

The QEII National Trust was set up in the 1970s, when a visionary group of farmers came together to investigate ways they could protect special natural and cultural sites on their land after they were gone.

These landowners were the driving force behind the establishment of the QEII National Trust, which was set up in 1977 by an Act of Parliament to deliver on their aspirations.

Federated Farmers strongly support and acknowledges the existing investment in its partnership with QEII working with landowners to enhance and protect our special places and things. . . 

Covenants are legal agreements and any restrictions they place on future owners ought to be reflected in the price they pay for the land.

Landowners place covenants on their land to protect it in perpetuity and this court ruling upholds that protection.

 


Rural round-up

28/08/2011

There is a possibility that only people who come from farms will find this amusing – Laughy Kate:

I was having a drink with an old friend who was in town the other day. Today he’s a successful cameraman/producer with awards coming out his ears, but he started out earning a crust as a farm hand and a fencer before picking up a camera. And every once and a while we get reminded of this . . .

Rural women learn crucial skills – Jon Morgan:

As a farmer’s wife on rugged hill country near Taihape, raising three boys and involved with schools and the local community over the past 20 years, Nicki Duncan has had a busy life.

But always, niggling away at the back of her mind, has been a feeling of unfinished business.

She was brought up in Christchurch, the daughter of Pyne Gould Guinness trading director John Paterson, and after completing a commerce degree in Japanese and marketing worked in Japan teaching English and promoting New Zealand lamb.

First intake passes leadership scheme – Sally Rae:

Christine Angland encourages other women to become involved with the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Escalator course.

Mrs Angland, from Waipori Station, along with Dawn Sangster (Maniototo) and Andrea Shore (Clydevale), were among the 11 graduates of the inaugural programme which was aimed at developing rural leadership and governance skills in women . . .

Green Party’s irrigation charge policy ‘crazy’ ‘a joke’ – Lynda Van Kempen:

 The Green Party’s plans to charge for irrigation water would be a death blow for Central Otago if implemented, a farming accountant said yesterday.

Alexandra-based Ibbotson Cooney accountant George Collier said the Greens’ policy was “crazy”, while Central Otago Mayor and irrigation scheme manager Tony Lepper described it as “a joke”. . .

Cow pacifier benefits worth rising early to crow about – Sally Rae:

Some mornings, John Brown gets up at 5am to head out to North Otago dairy farms to demonstrate a tool to calm cattle.

Nothing unusual about that except, at 87, Mr Brown could be entitled to stay in bed a little longer. But he is passionate about the product . . .

Tour of UK proud time for shearer – Sally Rae:

Managing the New Zealand shearing team on its recent UK tour was a proud occasion for veteran South Otago shearer Bruce Walker.

Dion King and Rowland Smith, both from the North Island, ended the tour with a series-winning victory over Wales . . .

Converstion key to family succession – Mary Witsey:

Good communication is the key to successful farm succession – that and having a business that’s profitable enough to be passed on.

That was the message about 130 farmers heard at a Beef and Lamb NZ farm succession seminar this month, where a range of specialists outlined ways to hand on the family farm to the next generation . . .

Pioneer of pregnancy scanning –  Kirsty MacNicol:

 The man credited with being one of the first in the world to scan sheep for pregnancy on a commercial basis died this month. KIRSTY MacNICOL looks at the impact Richard Chantler had on farming in the south of New Zealand.

The 1980s in rural New Zealand was a tough time – the impact of Rogernomics and the removal of agricultural subsidies forced farmers to review the way they managed their properties. Animals had to be easy care; farming had to be low cost. To make it work, stock numbers per farmer virtually doubled.

In the sheep industry romney breeders had been the first out of the starting blocks in recognising their sheep had to be genetically more efficient in carrying out their natural functions . . .

Matarangi farms sell at bargain prices – Duncan Bridgeman:

Three farm blocks on the Coromandel Peninsula have been sold at a heavy discount to valuation as bankers try and recover loans to Matarangi properties that were once part of the Hanover (© Copyright Protected – The National Business Review 56) empire.

The three farms on State Highway 25 were owned by subsidiaries of Matarangi Beach Estates, which went into receivership in November 2010 . . .

Top fine wool scoured here – Hugh Stringleman:

What is believed to be the finest bale of wool ever scoured in New Zealand is yet unsold and intending buyers need to have mortgage-sized funding.

The tested 11.4 micron, 122kg greasy bale of microfine Forest Range Merino from Anna Emmerson’s Lindis Ridges property at Mayfield, Canterbury, was scoured last week by Canterbury Woolscourers in Timaru.

Until now, scouring of such valuable wool would have been done in China where almost all of NZ’s Merino goes for processing . . .

Venison and Velvet – quality products in demand – Tony Chaston:

The deer industry as a pastoral option has fallen out of favour for NZ farmers over the last few years with numbers falling from previous heady days when growth was rampant.

But what has been consistent all the way along, is the quality of the two main products and these two articles reinforce the prospects of future demand for this small industry . . .


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