This page provides a sequence of exchanges and correspondence involving the Canterbury (NZ) Field Officer for Forest and Bird, the Hurunui District Council, and key landowners (mainly pastoral farmers) in Hurunui District.

Many would say that the Resource Management Act is being improperly administered by Territorial Land Councils, that Environmental NGO's such as Forest and Bird are given too much credence, and that the landowners (who are also rate-payers (ie property tax payers)) are not being listened to, and are being treated with gross unfairness.


Regional Office (Northern South Island)
PO Box 2516
Christchurch Mail Centre
Christchurch

Ph (03) 3666 317
Fax (03) 3660 655
e-mail sage@chc.forest-bird.org.nz

29 September 2000

Andrew Feierabend
Hurunui District Council
Amberley.

Dear Andrew Feierabend

Re: Proposed Hurunui District Plan - Mediation Landscape Matters

Forest and Bird is prepared to enter further negotiations and mediation in an attempt to resolve the remaining outstanding matters on significant landscapes and other issues, provided none of the individuals who have been involved in or assisted the Anti-SNA Group participate.

Accordingly, Forest and Bird would not be a party to any negotiations involving Mr Jamie McFadden, Mr Andrew Fox or Ms Ali Undorf-Lay who have previously represented Federated Farmers. The efforts of these individuals to undermine the consent orders and agreements reached by the parties does not indicate the good faith that is necessary for mediation and further negotiation.

Forest and Bird is keen to progress the significant landscapes issue and as previously advised believe several options exist to do this.

Yours sincerely

Eugenie Sage

Regional Field Officer

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Council may drop plan's landscape classification


The Press, Robyn Bristow, 27 November 2000

Significant landscapes could soon be scrubbed from the Hurunui District Plan.

Environmental services manager, Andrew Feierabend, has recommended to the council that it take steps to remove the significant landscape classification by a variation to the plan.

A mediated solution called for by the environmental services committee was impossible because of communication problems between Forest and Bird and Federated Farmers, he said.

His report will be considered by the council on Thursday.

Mr Feierabend said discussion had been taking place with appellants to the plan to try to settle the issue but Forest and Bird was not prepared to continue dialogue with Federated Farmers if personnel from the anti-SNA (significant natural areas) group were involved.

Federated Farmers were not prepared to meet these terms.

Mr Feierabend said that because of the circumstances he was now suggesting a variation to the plan to remove the landscape classification as an alternative to a mediated agreement.

The recommendation to scrap the classification follows a reference to the Environment Court.

It is a separate issue to the listing of significant natural areas in the plan which the Anti-SNA group says is a breach of private property rights.

Mr Feierabend said that if significant landscapes were removed from the plan there should be policy to deal with issues of forestry, buildings on ridgelines, subdivisions in the Hanmer Basin Special Management Area, and the harvesting of indigenous forest.

He recommended the council hold a workshop to develop policy on these issues.

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Letter to the Editor, The Press, 18 December 2000.

Hurunui Plan

Sir - Forest and Bird refuses to discuss Hurunui district plan issues with Federated Farmers if Hurunui significant natural areas (SNA) group members are involved. (November 27).

The problem is that many farmers support the SNA group and are Federated Framers members.

Of all the parties involved, Forest and Bird is the only one to adopt this position. Outside groups have not hesitated to come into our Hurunui community demanding all sorts of regulation, causing endless frustration and a legal marathon that uses up huge amounts of ratepayers money. Forest and Bird supports a regulated Resource Management Act approach that is destroying the value of conservation.

As a North Canterbury Federated Farmers vice-president and Hurunui SNA group member I will continue to be at the forefront of Hurunui district plan issues.

Forest and Bird must mature in its thinking and recognise that environmental goals will only be achieved through working with rural communities where landowners are motivated stewards.

Jamie McFadden. December 5, 2000.

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Letters to the Editor, The Press, Christchurch,
Saturday 23 December 2000.

Hurunui Plan.

Sir:

In mid-1999 after lengthy formal mediation involving an Environment Court mediator and then an independent Auckland QC, Federated Farmers, Forest and Bird, the Department of Conservation, the Hurunui District Council and other parties signed a consent agreement. It was lodged with the Environment Court to resolve appeals on the proposed Hurunui District Plan.

The agreement included new methods for dealing with significant natural areas (SNAs) on private land. Three members of the Federated Farmers' negotiating group subsequently sought to undermine it by helping organise the anti-SNA group's attacks on the council for implementing the agreed SNA process.

Forest and Bird will discuss effective protection of SNAs with Federated Farmers and others. It will not, however, participate in negotiations involving those three individuals because of their actions.

The anti-SNA Group's reliance on voluntary methods, with no council or community oversight of clearance or damage to important forests, shrublands, and wetlands will not safeguard these areas.

(Signed) Eugenie Sage: Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.
December 18, 2000.
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The Press 4 January 2001.

Hurunui Plan.

Sir -- It is a shame in a season of good will that Eugenie Sage (December 23) is again attacking landowners' good will and stewardship of their land.

As spokesperson of an organisation which signed the now scuttled West Coast Forest Accord Ms Sage is being hypocritical to refuse to negotiate with some members of the Hurunui Significant Natural Areas Group. because of their involvement in mediation.

Conservation would be much better served if Forest and Bird turned its enthusiasm and energy towards controlling invasive plants such as Clematis vitalba and Muhlenbeckia australis which are choking our forests and shrublands. Our native bird life also needs protecting from pests such as opossums, ferrets and spur-winged plovers.

Simon Upton said: "A durable solution will be one in which landowners are committed custodians of this heritage and you can't regulate for that."

Landowners are committed to voluntary conservation - you can't get more realistic than that.

J. E. and J. E. Chisnall. December 26, 2000.