Land cover and use are critical for climate change, water quality and use, biodiversity and soil conservation as well as important drivers of rural economic activity and the evolution of rural communities. The Land Use in Rural New Zealand (LURNZ) model is a simulation model that predicts overall shifts in land use at a national scale and then allocates those changes spatially. We create a new dataset that allows us to consider fine scale land cover and use on private rural land and land characteristics associated with those land covers and uses. Second, we produce some summary statistics on the land cover transitions that were observed from 1996 to 2002. We find some evidence that supports our simple model of the relationship between land use changes and observable land quality, and the use of Land Use Capability and slope in rules to simulate the location of changes in land use and cover and also identify some directions for future work.