3 Aug 2009

Tribunal ruling to be used by ministers to set High Country leases

1:06 pm on 3 August 2009

Agriculture Minister David Carter says a tribunal verdict on High Country pastoral leases will be used by a Ministerial group to decide what level rents should be set at.

The Land Valuation Tribunal in Dunedin ruled on Friday that amenity values should not be included when calculating how much rent High Country farmers should pay the Crown.

Minaret Station at Wanaka was put forward by farmers as a test case against the previous Government's proposed system for calculating rents.

Mr Carter says the Prime Minister has asked him and the Land and Conservation Ministers to revise the High Country policy.

He says the tribunal's judgement was the "final piece in the jigsaw." The tribunal found that rents should be 2.25% of land value.

Mr Carter says there's no point in setting rents at unrealistic and uneconomic levels.

Land Information New Zealand, says the judgement applies only to Minaret's lease, although it acknoledges there are broader implications for other leaseholders with cases before the tribunal.

Amenity values ruled out

One of the issues before the tribunal was a proposal to include amenity values when calculating the rent.

Amenity values take into consideration the value derived from the location or view the property has.

But the tribunal found that these values should be excluded from the calculations.