Mt White Station Sale

"The real estate advertisement is spot on in describing Mt White Station as an “iconic” South Island high country station. The 40,000 hectare property is adjacent to Arthur’s Pass National Park and the upper reaches of the Waimakariri River. Mt White Station is the largest pastoral lease in New Zealand still owned by the Crown. Its sprawling extent includes land in the catchments of the Hawdon, Esk and Poulter river valleys, areas highly valued by trampers, hunters, and fishers and for the access they provide to the national park. Its tussocky river flats and river terraces with beech forests and mountains beyond are part of the landscape experience for travellers on SH 73 between Christchurch and Arthur’s Pass and those on board KiwiRail’s TranzAlpine Express between Christchurch and Greymouth." The Crown already own it, it could easily become a Conservation Park, but no ... sell it off. I'm sick of this.

"The Crown already own it"??? No. No more than the crown own the land your or my house is built on (which they do). People really refuse to understand what 'pastoral leases' are. I guess it's that word 'lease' that confuses them. A pastoral lease is a 'title' no different from the 'title' you own for the land your house is built on. It comes with almost identical en'title'ments as the title for any other property. The only difference is that the your title was paid for up-front when the crown originally sold the title and the Mt White title is to be paid for on an ongoing basis according to a formula laid out in the original sale. Just like the 'title' for the land your house is built on, the only way the crown can take the en'title'ment back is by purchasing it (if you want to sell), by invoking legislation such as the public works act (if you don't want to sell), or through a mediated voluntary process such as the Tenure Review process. Which incidentally, Mt White is currently part of and through which the conservation estate looks to gain: So, instead of repeating over and again the untruth that 'the crown already own it, we can simply kick them off', lets look at the actual legal situation and find a realistic way forward.

I wasn't suggesting for a second that the Crown can simply 'kick them off' ... but if the property is on the open market the Crown does have the opportunity to purchase it. Or review the tenure. It is a lease after all and the public DO have an interest in it. Just because the current legislation is weak and the current govt will never goes against the farming lobby, doesn't mean we have to keep selling off what IS Crown land to anyone in the world with buckets of cash. At the moment when this property was put to the market, this was the best moment to step back and look at all the long term options.

"It's a lease after all". No. Not in the sense you mean. The 'pastoral lease' comes with a permanent rights, cannot be terminated without both parties agreeing, and may be bought or sold in the same way as any other title. So, no. It may not be 'reviewed' unless both parties want it to be. A pastoral lease is not a 'lease' in the same sense as leasing a farm from a private individual where the original owner retains 'title' and has the right to review or terminate. Pastoral Lease is a _permanent_ entitlement (so long as the agreed fees are paid). "At the moment when this property was put to the market, this was the best moment to step back and look at all the long term options." No again. The only 'long term options' the sale of the property offers are: a) the opportunity for the crown to buy the title at market rates in competition with any other buyers b) some possibility for OIO to lay down Ts&Cs if the land is sold to overseas owners - as with Hunter Valley Stn. In all other ways the sale offers no legal opportunities to change anything. Just like when you sell your house, it does not give the crown the opportunity to revoke your title or change the conditions on it.

I quite understand you are legally and technically correct. Still doesn't make this kind of sale to potentially overseas interests at all appealing. "Pastoral Lease is a _permanent_ entitlement" Not so sure about that. There is more to this story:

"Pastoral Lease is a _permanent_ entitlement" Ok. I was aware that I was oversimplifying, so I'm pleased to see you pull me up on that. The lease is a '33 year lease with automatic right of renewal', and with a review to the payments due every 11 years. However, it is _effectively_ permanent as: 1) There is an 'automatic right to renewal' at the end of the 33 year period. This is at the leasee's discretion (i.e. the leasor cannot say 'no' if the leasee wishes to renew). And the renewal is under the same terms as the initial lease, so there is no legal opportunity to tinker with the conditions. 2) The 11 year 'review' is a review of the rental cost only. The formula used to calculate payments is fixed (not up for review) and is based on the land value. This is re-calculated every 11 years to work out the payments due for the next 11 year period. So the only tinkering that the 11 year review can do is play with land valuations to increase / decrease rent. As your link points out, rents have actually gone down as a result of government policy making pastoral leases less attractive and thus devaluing the land.

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Forum The campfire
Started by PhilipW
On 27 June 2017
Replies 5
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