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Walking The Walk

Press Release 27/03/08 EMBARGOED UNTIL 12.00PM 28/03/08

Walking The Walk

Walk the Walk are a group of environmental activists on a long walk from Auckland to Happy Valley near Westport, in opposition to the opening of a new open cast coal mine there by state owned enterprise Solid Energy and the export of this coal from NZ to Asia.

After walking for 8 weeks, the group will arrive at Parliament on 28/03/08 at 12pm. There will be a rally on Parliament Grounds to voice strong opposition to coal mining, burning and trading, and to expose government Greenwash concerning climate change and carbon emissions. The walkers will be setting up a climate camp, as they have done in central public parks in all the towns they have visited along the way, usually in a new town every day. They plan to stay there overnight.

The Upper Waimangaroa, also known as Happy Valley, is the intended site of Solid Energys proposed open cast coal mine. This mine will destroy 250 HA of pristine sub-alpine wetland and beech bush which is home to 13 endangered and protected

native species of bird and plant life and the giant, carnivorous land snail, Powelliphanta patrickensis. This will leave a huge hole in the ground that will take hundreds of years to regenerate. The waterways will be polluted with shulphur,

which will kill fish life, as in their current adjacent stockton mine. Coal leaves many toxins in its smoke and in its waste ash pile including sulphur, mercury and lead.

Helen Clarke talks about carbon neutrality, and the government has recently banned any new fossil fuel fired power generation in New Zealand for the next ten years Heather Simpson of walk the walk says "it doesn't matter where in the world the coal

is being burnt, we all share the atmosphere. We want to draw attention to the hypocracy of the government by attempting to avoid responsibility for the emissions from coal we export. The government have shown they can talk about climate change,
now it is time to walk the walk!"

In the lead up to the elections, Walk the Walk demands that the government puts an immediate moratorium on new coal mines, aborts their ineffectual carbon trading scheme and takes more practical action to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The group will be presenting a book of submissions from people they have met along the way to Helen Clarke and a banner from Massey University, Palmerston North Students.

The "chip wagon", their vibrantly painted support car, which runs off vege oil previously used to cook fish and chips, will be on display nearby for the public to view.

More information about the journey can be found at www.walkingthewalk.org.nz

More information about the Save Happy Valley campaign can be found at www.savehappyvalley.org.nz


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