Conservation matters

Written By: - Date published: 8:29 am, February 10th, 2017 - 21 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, farming, water - Tags: , , , ,

We’re preparing for one of the biggest legal threats to our wild places for many years. Help us defend nature. – Forest and Bird

From the Forest and Bird website,

Environmental organisation Forest & Bird has released a video showing some of the public conservation land which will be destroyed if a land swap allowing New Zealand’s largest irrigation dam goes ahead.

Forest & Bird is preparing to appear in the Supreme Court to defend the Court of Appeal’s 2016 decision that the Department of Conservation’s planned land swap enabling the Ruataniwha dam was illegal.

The Supreme Court case this February 27th and 28th is being brought by Conservation Minister Maggie Barry alongside the dam company, Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC).

In the video of the proposed dam site in Ruahine Forest Park, Forest & Bird states “If Minister Maggie Barry succeeds in court, it could create a legal precedent that lets over a million hectares of conservation land in New Zealand be traded away and destroyed by business interests.”

Some of the important native species and habitats known to exist within the dam’s footprint, including native bats, New Zealand falcon, and rare wetlands, are also detailed in the video.

Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague says “This case is about more than Ruahine Forest Park and what would be New Zealand’s largest irrigation dam. It’s about all of New Zealand’s specially protected conservation areas, and whether they’re safe from commercial interests.”

“Does the government have the right to exchange parts of our conservation land, which will then be destroyed? The outcome of this case will determine whether specially protected public land can be obtained and destroyed by private businesses, or whether that land belongs to the people of New Zealand, and to the environment.”

(my emphasis).

Commentary on three things,

One, this is National further dismantling NZ society and selling it off. The Minister of Conservation is appealing to the NZ Supreme Court to be allowed to trade away critical conservation estate to commercial interests. Know that for what it is.

Two, local Forest and Bird have spent 6 years defending the Ruahine Forest. The time, money and effort that Forest and Bird have and will have to put into this fight should be being spent on proactively assisting our native ecosystems not defensively protecting them from the NZ government. Every time we have to resist, we are further away from solving the real problems of the world. Conservative voters should be as concerned as left wing voters.

Three, it should be a priority of the incoming Labour/Green government to establish the Department of Conservation’s role as that of environmental protection. A constitution that enshrined the rights of Nature is probably the only way to Tory-proof that.

Donations can be made to the Forest and Bird campaign here. Membership and other ways to support Forest and Bird are here.

Forest and Bird on Facebook and Twitter.

21 comments on “Conservation matters”

  1. BM 1

    The Ruahine Forest Park covers an area of 94,000 hectares, this dam will use 22 hectares.

    That works out at 0.000234042553% of the forest park

    • weka 1.1

      what’s the value of that 22 hectares?

      • BM 1.1.1

        What’s worth more value? 22 hectares of what will mainly be buffer zone vegetation or a huge lake that will provide water, food and habitat for the wildlife of the park.

        You could argue that this dam area is actually extending the size of the Ruahine Forest Park not destroying it.

        • weka

          I think I’ll take Forest and Bird’s expert opinion on the conservation value thanks.

          “You could argue that this dam area is actually extending the size of the Ruahine Forest Park not destroying it.”

          I’m sure you could, but again, what’s the value of the 22 hectares?

        • saveNZ

          @ BM It’s the precedent of robbing from conservation areas that is also the issue. That’s the problem with the Natz, they think that everything is about money and numbers. Doing something bad is OK if you make money from it (especially if it is for private crony friends) because it’s only a ‘small’ robbery.

          We had Rob Muldoon effectively take away Super and make our country poorer, now our Natz inc is selling the land from under our feet and the water from under the land for magic beans and for a short term gain that will be unsustainable in most cases.

          The other thing about irrigation is, the water still has to come. So if you are converting farmland that needs irrigation now, what will happen when there is further droughts? Irrigation dams may hold the water but it does not generate new water. It’s just stealing public water.

          It’s an expensive short term fix, instead of solving the greater problem – water efficiency.

          How to grow more with less water. In some cases land is not suitable for the crops or animals that are being forced on it, – instead another less water hungry crop or animal should be there. This may turn out to be better and more profitable in the long term and certainty a better option that forcing on agriculture that need massive investment and public theft to make work.

        • wotsit

          Come on BM that’s BS. Does a lake provide habitat and food for forest animals like weta, bats and falcon?

        • mauī

          90% of our original wetlands are gone and 90% of our lowland rivers are now polluted if I recall correctly. And there’s basically nothing left of our lowland (valley) forests apart from what you see in national parks. So my feeling is that those 22ha that encompass these habitats in Ruahine park are very valuable due to their scarcity now.

      • bwaghorn 1.1.2

        ”what’s the value of the 22 hectares?”

        about 170 hectares it would appear

        • weka

          If one subscribes to the idea that we can swap one bit of land for any other old bit of land 😉

          • bwaghorn

            oh come you sandal wearers would love to go pour your love into a retired bit of farm land .

            It’s a win win as long as there a strong rules on how the water is used . that’s why all irrigation should be government owned and operated,

            • saveNZ

              bwaghorn – poisoning the good people of Havelock North, offering wadable water and selling billions of litres of export water for $2000. Yes our government hillbilly’s are winners we can trust! sarc. Peter Thiel, Sky City, Scenic hotels, Oravida also seem very trustworthy on the private sector side to know a good deal. Sarc.

    • michelle 1.2

      The fact is BM this sets a bad precedent and when does it end it also makes a mockery of the beach NZers recently brought back. Why bother buying land or beaches back when the greedy money hungry tories will flog it of as soon as they get a chance.
      The 400 beached whales up north is being blamed on DOC staff being too slow when it is the tories that cut DOC funding and staff numbers to the bone and now we see them stealing ours and our children inheritance, We have our own swamp to drain here.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 1.3

      Based on these areas your calculated % value is 100 times too low. I do not trust your ‘facts’.

  2. saveNZ 2

    Have we ever had a worst government??

    Good Luck to Forest and Bird.

  3. Carolyn_nth 3

    Damn the Dam

  4. greywarshark 4

    Here is a clip on the environment from the great E F Schumacher, Small is Beautiful. This shows Western Australia in 1978.

  5. greywarshark 5

    Does the Forest and Bird need donations to help fund the legal costs against this rapacious destructive government that is not a kaitiaki of our land and assets? Bet they do. Dairy robbers get punished – under our present system these government, national and local, thieves get plaudits and continue in power. Thinking NZS HAVE TO SPEAK UP or the bulldozers will come for you eventually.

  6. s y d 6

    thanks weka, I’ve just given them a bucks to keep battling away.

  7. Another major issue is this one'they've-basically-stolen-public-land

    “A regional council report details the widespread conversions, called agricultural encroachment, between 1990 and 2012.

    The encroachments took place on the margins, or berm lands, of 24 of the region’s braided rivers – described by the report as “internationally and nationally significant”.

    “They are a defining characteristic of the region’s landscape and… critical habitat for remaining indigenous biodiversity,” the report said.

    The river banks were crucial to that ecosystem, and provided a natural floodplain, it said.

    But in the 22 years from 1990, 11,630 hectares of that riparian zone was converted for intensive agricultural use.

    Although the majority of the land was privately held, a quarter was public reserve, and the rest (16 percent) was unallocated.”


  8. saveNZ 8

    Shocking, +1

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