A fight to protect significant areas of native plants on privatised land has been won by Forest and Bird in the Environment Court.
The conservation group took the Waitaki District Council and Federated Farmers to court to overturn an exemption in the council's District Plan.
That exemption meant rules intended to protect native plants did not apply to land that had been privatised through a tenure review process.
Forest and Bird solicitor, Sally Gepp said the exemption in the District Plan allowed some farmers to freely clear native vegetation.
"There's still a real role for the district plan here, and the council has a duty to protect this vegetation and to control activities that would get rid of it," she said.
Ms Gepp said the Environment Court agreed that the council must have a rule that controls clearance of native vegetation.