Right now, Forest and Bird are in the Supreme Court defending a challenge from the Minister of Conservation, Maggie Barry. The Minister wants to remove the protected status of 22 hectares of Forest Park land in order to allow it to be flooded for the Ruataniwha irrigation dam to go ahead.
Think about that for a moment.
The Minister for Conservation – the very person who is charged with protecting conservation land – is using public money to go all the way to the Supreme Court to gain the right to remove the protected status of Forest Park land in order to trade it away to benefit private commercial interests.
The land in question is home to species like the long-tailed bat. Official listed as “threatened” our native bats are one of New Zealand’s only land mammals – and are so tiny they can fit in the palm of your hand.
This is a critical case.
If the Minister were to win, that would have huge ramifications for the protected status of over a million hectares of conservation land throughout Aotearoa.
The hard fought protections for our conservation land must not be undermined like this.
Aotearoa deserves a Minister of Conservation who will stand up for conservation land, not pander to developers and corporations.
In the meantime, Forest and Bird deserve an Oscar award for their tireless work defending nature.
For more information:
- Find out about long tailed bats on the DOC website;
- Ruataniwha dam moratorium following local body election – Hawke’s Bay today;
- Find out more about the Ruahine Forest Park, including some of the walks and tramps in the park;
- Previous land swaps have included the Mokihinui dam proposal, and Porters skifield;
- Sign up for conservation updates from the Green Party MPs.