Foreign farm owners need to let Kiwis through - lobby group

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The group wants Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters to take a harder stance on foreign ownership. Photo credit: Getty

A hunting and fishing lobby group wants foreign farm land owners to open their gates up to locals who want to take a walk.

The Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations (CORA) thinks more owners from overseas are giving those who live nearby the short straw.

Spokesman Andi Cockroft says some treat species on their properties as their own.

"They create private hunting and fishing reserves that you have to pay [to use]. It should be a public resource."

CORA estimates 10 percent of farmland is in the hands of foreign owners.

"If they actually want to be part of the Kiwi landscape, they need to participate in the Kiwi way of life. That is something Kiwis fought for from 1840 to today."

According to the Christchurch-based organisation Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, last year the Overseas Investment Office approved the sale of 25,696 hectares to foreigners, and leased another 47,679 hectares.

"That's just in 12 months," says Mr Cockroft. "Intertwined with this rural land is often outdoor recreation values, however access to the outdoor recreation has been diminished as invariably the new foreign owners stop public access."

The group wants Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters to take a harder stance on foreign ownership. The issue was a sticking point in coalition talks following last year's election.

"We expect the new government in the light of election promises by its parties to act swiftly to stem foreign sales" said Mr Cockroft.

Newshub.