Land at Mt Ida near Ranfurly will remain public conservation land following agreement between the parties.
In 2008, the Commissioner of Crown Lands, David Gullen, designated the Mt Ida pastoral occupation licence land for vesting in the Department of Conservation (DOC) for conservation purposes. The Mt Ida Syndicate then sought a judicial review of the Commissioner’s process.
In an out of court agreement, the parties agreed that the land will remain as public land, to be managed by DOC. Full public access to the land is guaranteed and the mustering huts will be managed by DOC.
Otago Conservator Marian van der Goes said the settlement brought certainty to the future status of the land and enabled DOC to effectively manage it.
“The public can now be confident that their ability to access and enjoy this land is preserved for all time. The land adjoins Oteake Conservation Park which is becoming increasingly popular to a wide range of visitors including 4WD users, trampers and hunters,” she said.
Under the agreement, the Mt Ida Syndicate will be able to graze the land for a 12-week period every year for the next ten years. The effects of the grazing will be monitored. Syndicate members will be able to occupy huts on the land for stock management purposes during the limited grazing period.
Spokesman for the Mt Ida Syndicate, Alistair Scott, said, “This agreement allows the Mt Ida Syndicate families to continue their 110 years of association with this land. When we built the tracks and huts it allowed us to manage the land economically. These same tracks and huts have allowed the wider community to enjoy the natural values that we also wish to protect.”
The Commissioner, David Gullen, said this agreement should not be viewed as creating a precedent for other pastoral occupation land, as each case “has to be dealt with on its merits, including an assessment of the legal risks and the particular circumstances of the case. In this case, the protection of conservation land was paramount”.