Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Forest & Bird signs Denniston reserve agreement

Tuesday 12 November 2013 - Wellington

Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Forest & Bird signs Denniston reserve agreement for sake of nature

Forest & Bird has decided not to appeal an Environment Court decision allowing an open-cast coal mine on the Denniston Plateau, and has reached an agreement that will ensure at least some of the plateau is protected for the sake of the native plants and animals it hosts.

As part of the agreement signed late yesterday between the conservation charity and Buller Coal Ltd (owned by Bathurst Resources), the company will create and permanently protect a special reserve on the plateau, referred to as the “Denniston Permanent Protection Area (DPPA).”

October’s Environment Court judgement only required Bathurst Resources to employ its “best endeavours” in regards to protecting this area. Forest & Bird was concerned that “best endeavours” meant the company would not be required to create the reserve, and sought a stronger outcome through the agreement.

“The decision not to appeal the Environment Court judgement was a hard one. We consider the Denniston Plateau to be one of the most precious parts of the conservation estate,” says Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin.

“But we made the agreement, for two reasons.

“Until last month, the Environment Court’s view had been that the case was ‘finely balanced’ – that is, that our case was a good one. But it is clear the court has now largely accepted that the mine will proceed. While an appeal may have been successful, it would not have actually stopped the mine,” says Debs Martin.

“The second reason we made this agreement is that we want to make certain Bathurst Resources will create and protect the reserve. By doing this, we are ensuring Bathurst won’t just have to try – they’ll have to deliver on their undertaking. 

“Forest & Bird will strive to protect what will be left of the Denniston and nearby Stockton plateaux from coal mining. 

“The Department of Conservation says the Denniston Plateau is on its list of the top 50 most ecologically significant sites on mainland New Zealand. Scientists have highlighted its incredible range of endemism, which means many of its plants and animals are found nowhere else on Earth. Under previous governments of both shades, DOC would have gone to court to protect Denniston. But the department was not present – which is why community groups like ours have been saddled with the high cost of legal action to protect those values,” says Debs Martin.

“Given the coal industry is going to be allowed to mine such a sensitive part of the conservation estate, we hope DOC will now do what is required of it by law and make sure the plants and animals on what will be left of the Denniston and Stockton plateaux are saved from extinction.

“This case has been a significant one for Forest & Bird. While we have not been able to prevent Denniston from being open-cast mined, we have made some good gains for conservation. If we hadn’t got involved, Bathurst wouldn’t be legally committed to creating the reserve. Most New Zealanders would still have never heard of the Denniston Plateau. And New Zealanders would be none the wiser in regards to the new animal species that were discovered on the plateau during the course of our campaign,” Debs Martin says.

Click for big version.

Map shows the naturally-occurring sandstone pavements of the Denniston Plateau, with the footprint of Bathurst’s open cast coal mine in red, and the boundary of the DPPA in green.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Housing Issues: Homelessness On The Horizon For Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers who have held down jobs and contributed to the well-being of New Zealand through their taxes may yet become homeless in late middle age or early retirement without urgent Government action, says The Salvation Army. More>>


Treasury Has Doubts On Christchurch Rebuild And... Auditor-General Follows Up On EQC

Despite the improvements made, EQC could still learn better from complaints and improve its customer focus and interactions... Although the programme is nearing completion, EQC needs to provide the best service possible for the home owners whose homes are still to be repaired. More>>


Man Who Banned 'Into The River' Out The Door: Appointments To The Film And Literature Board Of Review

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has announced seven appointments to the Film and Literature Board of Review... “The new members of the Board... will provide a strong mix of skills and experience to help the Board carry out its functions, while representing a cross-section of society.” More>>


Climate Marches: New Zealanders March For Solutions Not Pollution

Ahead of the UN Climate Summit in Paris more than 15,000 New Zealanders have taken part in the Peoples Climate march in Auckland, kicking off the largest climate mobilisation the world has ever seen... More>>


Labour: Little Announces New Shadow Cabinet

“Labour had an impressive intake of fresh faces after last year’s election and newest MPs have now had a year to show what they’re made of. This reshuffle rewards hard work and continues my drive to renew our Caucus line up." More>>


Because Reasons: Someone Reckons David Seymour Is Politician Of The Year

Trans Tasman's 11th annual Roll Call has thrown a curve ball this year, ignoring the likes of John Key, Bill English, and Winston Peters to pick its politician of the year from the ranks of the new generation. More>>


Whaling: NZ Deeply Disappointed By Japan's Decision

“New Zealand is strongly opposed to whaling in the Southern Ocean. We call on Japan to take heed of the 2014 International Court of Justice decision and international scientific advice concerning their whaling activities.” More>>


Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news