by Catherine Delahunty
We Love It – We Protected It!
Today the Green Party is preparing to celebrate with hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who stood up against the mining of Schedule Four conservation land. The Government has acknowledged the more than 44,000 signatures on a Green Party petition, the 40,000 people who made submissions and the 40,000 people marched in the streets to say “No Mining on Schedule 4”.
We’d like to acknowledge all the fantastic volunteers who worked so hard for this victory. We also want to pay tribute to the coalition of groups we have worked with in the “2 Precious 2 Mine” coalition and all the citizens who told the Government they could not mine National Parks and other sacred places.
The mining industry will still try to find a way to access coal and gold, but they have been sent a strong message from the population. The core values of Tangata Whenua and communities have been expressed. The Government has realised they cannot afford to ignore us on this issue.
All New Zealanders value the natural environment of our country because it is part of our identity. The phrase “future generations” is not empty for us. Our children’s children are entitled to a healthy relationship with the natural world that will support them if we protect it.
Speaking personally, one of the highlights of the campaign was traveling by bus with the Coromandel people to join the Auckland march and seeing the huge range of people filling the whole of Queen Street and speaking with a single voice. As a veteran of the Coromandel campaign in the 80s, it is hugely rewarding to see that people power across the nation can save many of our sacred places.
There are parties being organised around the country tonight. But wherever you are raise your glass to the mountains, the rivers and forests. If they flourish we flourish. And raise your glass to the people who participated in this campaign. It was all worth it!
If you’re in Wellington come on down the the Back Bencher tonight. More details here.