Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been making a big deal about cuts to Conservation funding and the impact they are having on the work the Department of Conservation is charged with doing. Yet Maggie Barry, the Minister of Conservation, says I’ve got it all wrong. So I thought a review might be in order.
Seeing swamp kauri mining for the first time this week was a shock. Dark peaty soil had been stripped of its plant cover and giant excavators were digging into wet, swampy soil to unearth logs that had been buried for thousands of years. The land was raw and cut by deep drains. Huge kauri logs […]
A fuel spill that has coated at least one shag in oil and marred Tauranga Harbour shows how damaging offshore oil and gas exploration could be to the environment. At least one shag has been found with its body coated in oil from the spill, and teams have been out assessing the environmental impact. The […]
The Environmental Defence Society’s new book Vanishing Nature – facing New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis, should be read by every New Zealander concerned about our native plants and wildlife and striking natural landscapes; and particularly by Government Ministers before Budget Day on 21 May. The book authored by Marie Brown, Theo Stephens, Raewyn Peart and Bevis […]
It is amazing that you can hear the song of the endangered North Island kokako in South Auckland’s Hunua Ranges, less than 50 kms from the central city. A heavy schedule of policy workshops at the Green Party’s Policy Conference at nearby Camp Adair last weekend meant there was no time to go in search […]
New Zealand needs to remedy the impact of irrigation and hydro development or lose a majority of our native freshwater fish species, 74 per cent of which are threatened and at risk of becoming extinct. Irrigation, hydro development, fishing and introduced species have reduced the populations of native fish species such as the galaxiids, a […]
A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant bird. This indignation, according to the NZ Herald, was due to them interrupting the bird’s sleep but […]
The chainsaws stopped in native forest on public land in 1999 after a strong campaign by non-governmental organisations such as Forest and Bird and Native Forest Action (NFA), supported by the Green Party. Immediately after the 1999 election, the incoming Labour Government directed SOE and government forestry company, Timberlands West Coast Ltd to end its […]
The Government has a strategy to avoid protecting the environment, especially land set aside for its conservation values. It’s called “net conservation benefit” and the poster child of this disingenuous piece of spin is the Bathurst Resources agreement with DOC at the Denniston Plateau. As DOC is increasingly required to commercialise and mining is promoted, […]
Congratulations to Save Fiordland, Forest and Bird and the more than 18,000 people who spoke out to protect the Te Wahipounamu SouthWest World Heritage Area and Fiordland’s beautiful river valleys and the ancient beech forests of Snowdon Forest from a destructive and risky monorail. The reality would have been nothing like the glossy PR […]
Early on Saturday morning, residents and friends of the Coromandel led by the legendary Coromandel Watchdog group took a two hour walk uphill to the Newmont gold drilling rig in the Wharekirauponga area of the Forest Park. Newmont has been drilling in this area for several years and claims to be pretty excited by the […]
Glenorchy based Stop the Tunnel is presenting a series of stunning photographs of Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks to the Local Government and Environment select committee today. The presentation is in support of their petition to Parliament to stop the proposed $150 million Milford Dart bus tunnel. The online petition has now been signed […]
Yesterday was the UN International Day for Biological Diversity. The theme for this year was Water and Biodiversity. In New Zealand our native freshwater species are extremely vulnerable. Our longfin eels are on a pathway to extinction yet are still being caught commercially. Other freshwater species have no or little protection compared to our terrestrial […]
Gareth has previously posted about the Dan Rogers marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour. Living on Banks Peninsula and having helped promote the reserve I wanted to share my thoughts and thank and congratulate the reserve applicants, Kathleen and Brian Reid and the Akaroa Harbour Marine Protection Society who When the Government is opening up conservation […]
I am concerned that the interim decision of the Environment Court does not rule out the mining of the Denniston Plateau. The interim decision of the Environment Court acknowledges that the Denniston Plateau has high biodiversity values which would be impacted by mining and that the situation is too close to call. However the decision […]
Imagine if a Japanese whaling fleet every year came down to New Zealand and hunted and killed two critically endangered whales in the Hauraki Gulf, just off Auckland?
Birdsong should not be replaced by the sound of diggers in our National Parks. Promoters claim that the Department of Conservation (DoC) will soon decide whether Milford Dart Ltd’s application for a proposed 11.3km private bus tunnel from the Glenorchy end of the Routeburn track to the Hollyford Valley near Te Anau goes ahead. Our six […]
Forest and Bird deserves every success in its Environment Court case to protect the distinctive coal measures ecosystems and landscapes of the Denniston Plateau. This week the Court began hearing the Society’s appeal against West Coast councils granting resource consents under the RMA to Australian miner, Bathurst Resources’ destructive plans for an open cast coal […]
What would Ross think of NZ’s treatment of the Ross Sea? We asked his descendants. Descendants of Sir James Clark Ross talk about Ross Sea protection, from Green Party of Aotearoa NZ on Vimeo.
I visited Te Anau and Glenorchy recently to meet with representatives of Save Fiordland and Stop the Tunnel. They are working to protect Fiordland from Milford Dart Ltd’s preposterous proposal to mine a 11.3 km long, 430m deep tunnel from the start of the Routeburn Track to the Hollyford Valley and its destructive twin – […]
Has anyone seen the Minister of Conservation, Kate Wilkinson? Maybe we should send out a search party because she is missing in action. She’s clearly not doing her job which is using her powers to protect threatened species. On her watch we are seeing the critically endangered Maui’s dolphins and the New Zealand Sea Lion on a fast-track to extinction.
At its July meeting the West Coast Conservation Board decided unanimously to request the New Zealand Conservation Authority to use its powers under section 8 of the National Parks Act to investigate adding the Mokihinui River catchment to Kahurangi National Park. I have written to Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson and asked her to request the […]
Some 40 years ago the Save Manapouri campaign began with a meeting in Te Anau. Protecting Lake Manapouri from being raised and operated as a hydro lake and the lake shore forest inundated involved the biggest public mobilisation for the environment New Zealand had ever seen. Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau together with the rest […]
Today the Australian Government announced the creation of the world’s largest network of marine reserves, covering 3.1 million square kilometres of ocean including the entire Coral Sea! The marine reserves will protect a third of Australia’s territorial waters. It’s amazing news for the oceans, and a responsible move by the Australian Government.
What native species is as endangered as Great Spotted Kiwi is being sold as cat food? Longfin eels deserve protection from being killed for upmarket cat food. Populations of longfin eels are declining and the species is at risk of extinction yet they have no legal protection in New Zealand and they can still be […]
For National, Planet Economy is somewhere distant from Planet Earth. Bill English’s Budget speech didn’t even mention the environment or conservation. National demonstrated once again that it doesn’t understand that a healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Instead of investing in biodiversity protection National produced a zero sum budget for our native plants and […]
I’ve been doing some thinking about the links between the environment, the economy, and social justice. So have Ban Ki-moon and Tim Flannery.
Various alternate routes to Milford Sound have been proposed over the years to solve the perceived problem of travel time to, and congestion at Milford Sound. They include the train tunnel, the highway from Haast and the gondola. Two new proposals now seek concessions from the Department of Conservation. Milford Dart Ltd wants to build […]
I was fortunate to see some sea lions in the wild yesterday on the Otago Peninsular as I launched our push to protect these critically endangered animals. Along with sea lion expert Dr Bruce Robertson and Sea Lion Trust Chairman Stephen Broni, I launched an online submission that people can send to the Government urging […]
Following is an extract from Hansard, recording an exchange I had with energy Minister Hekia Parata back in April. The question was asked at a time when iwi, hapu, environmental groups and others were trying to persuade the government that issuing permits for deep water drilling is a bad idea. David Clendon: What is the […]
While some others were focused on political events elsewhere in the country, I was in Blackball for the annual Mayday celebrations and for the launch of a memorial wheel for those who have lost their lives in West Coast mines in recent years, most notably the Pike River 29. Families had made tiles with the […]
I was really inspired when taking part in a hui at Puatahi Marae on Sunday, an open day for the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group. The group’s title is a mouthful, but there is nothing complicated about the vision they share, which is to restore the Kaipara, its mauri, its quality and its ecosystems back to what […]
Yesterday I launched a nationwide sister cities whale tour in Wellington for ordinary people to do something about whaling, rather than leaving it up to the activists and international lawyers. We set up a stall where passers-by could sign a letter to Wellington’s sister city, Sakai, and then fold it in to an origami whale. […]
Sometimes it can be tricky being a senior public servant. The Department of Conservation senior management just fronted up to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee for the Department’s ‘financial review’. This is the Department’s accountability mechanism to Parliament for how it spent its public money in the 2009-10 year, but in practice the […]
Over 100 of us rafted and kayaked down the Mokihinui River on Sunday. The Mok is a fantastic wild West Coast river, a river full of life which makes its way through some of the last of our great lowland forest. Meridian Energy wants to dam and destroy the Mokihinui and drown the surrounding forest, […]
There is a perceived conflict between the environment and the economy. John Key often talks about balance but the reality as we all know is somewhat different. Personally I, like many New Zealanders am happy to protect areas like the Whangamarino wetland just because there are special. Some members of our society want to take […]
Tane Mahuta, lord of the forest. A tree that is truly magnificent, along with Te Matua Ngahere, father of the forest, who is our second largest Kauri. Estimated to be over 2000 years old, this means that it is possible that it lived through the large Taupo eruption of 180CE. Both trees grow in the […]
I live on an island close to the sea. The opening lyrics of Jess Chambers memorable song Island which featured in our 2008 election campaign will ring true with many. Our coastline features heavily in our recreational opportunities. Many of us yearn for a sunny day at the beach under a deep blue sky or […]
Well it’s Conservation Week and my inbox is full of email from people who saw the WhitewaterNZ film “A Tale of Two Rivers” on TVNZ 6 last night. It’s being repeated three times before the end of the week and is well worth a watch. Essentially it compares the disastrous Meridian Energy plan to build […]
To celebrate Conservation week we are doing a short series of blog posts about conservation in New Zealand, celebrating how lucky we are. We will cover some the current conservation issues and, since this is a political blog, highlight some of our solutions. What does conservation mean? Like sustainability the meaning often changes with context, […]