Rural Land Use and Land Tenure in New Zealand

59 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2011 Last revised: 22 Dec 2011

See all articles by Levente Timar

Levente Timar

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust; GNS Science

Date Written: December 8, 2011


Private land-use decisions are critical for a broad spectrum of environmental and social outcomes, ranging from water quality and climate change to rural income distribution. I use a large dataset of the land-use decisions of New Zealand landowners to estimate a cross-sectional multinomial logit model of land use. In this model, the optimal land-use choice depends on geophysical attributes of the land, the cost of access to markets, and on land tenure (Māori freehold title versus general freehold title). I employ the estimated relationship in a counterfactual scenario to assess the overall impact of Māori tenure on the willingness of landowners to supply land for the four most important rural uses in the country: dairying; sheep or beef farming; plantation forestry; and an economically unproductive use, scrub. This allows me to conjecture about the environmental implications of New Zealand’s land-tenure system.

Keywords: land use, land tenure, discrete choice model

JEL Classification: Q15

Suggested Citation

Timar, Levente, Rural Land Use and Land Tenure in New Zealand (December 8, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Levente Timar (Contact Author)

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust ( email )

Level 1, 93 Cuba Street
P.O. Box 24390
Wellington, 6142
New Zealand

GNS Science ( email )

1 Fairway Dr
Lower Hutt
New Zealand

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