Auckland Council is proposing to remove rates remission for privately owned land protected by QEII covenants.

QEII National Trust CEO Mike Jebson says “we are submitting against Auckland Council’s proposed policy. This policy discourages landowners from protecting natural heritage areas on their properties and fails to support protection of biodiversity on private land in the region.”

“QEII covenants often protect the habitat of threatened indigenous species, and provide corridors linking larger areas of private and public land set aside for conservation.  The work landowners do in protecting their land, like excluding stock from the protected area, is critical in encouraging regeneration of native vegetation.”

“This policy is in the wrong direction. We need to be seeing increased support for private land conservation, not less.”

Jebson says “this is an issue that has resonated with our members. We’ve been inundated with calls and emails from our members, people who have covenanted their land,  supporting our stance that rates exemptions should be available to all properties protected by QEII covenants in the Auckland Council region. We think that this should be in addition to a grants scheme to encourage and support maintenance of indigenous biodiversity protected by QEII covenants.”

“This policy also totally fails to acknowledge the role that landowners with covenants play in private land conservation and in protecting land for the benefit of all New Zealanders.  We also think this policy falls short of  the Council’s statutory obligations under the Local Government Ratings Act and the RMA.”

A copy of our full submission is available here.