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Swamp Kauri Mining Pushes Rare Native Orchid to Extinction

Swamp Kauri Mining Pushes Rare Native Orchid to Extinction While Northland is Ripped Off

Today the Northland Environmental Protection Society released a photo of a rare native orchid where the majority of the world population was wiped out a few months ago by illegal swamp kauri mining.

“This could only happen by illegal digging” says Fiona Furrell, Chairperson on the Northland Environmental Protection Society. “Any wetland with threatened species is protected from drainage and swamp kauri mining and it is up to the Regional Council to enforce this”.

“The Ministry of Primary Industry has been ignoring the law time and again. The Government Agency even gave a milling statement over important wetland areas that had an Environmental Court order to stop all works over it at the time. This is the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

“Illegal swamp kauri trade could be stopped if the Far North District Council, Northland Regional Council and the Ministry of Primary Industries actually did their enforcement work that we pay them to do”, said Mrs Furrell.

At Oravida’s sawmill and stockpiling yard at Ruakaka alone a timber industry insider has recently said there were 80,000 tonnes of swamp kauri. The average price for swamp kauri in New Zealand is $5000-$8000/m3. This means the recent Oravida stockpile is conservatively worth $400,000,000.

“Every day and night trucks with huge swamp kauri logs and stumps are trucked south along State Highway One and 10. Each truckload is worth between $10,000 and over $5 million. Where is the money going?” said Dean Baigent-Mercer, Chairperson of the Far North branch of Forest and Bird.

“During the Press political debate this week Prime Minister John Key said that new jobs in Northland would come from ‘exploration and mining’. But mining of swamp kauri has been in full swing, particularly for the last four years and what real advantage has the district seen?”

“Not only are the last Northland wetlands being degraded and destroyed, and threatened species of plants, birds and geckoes wiped out but Northland is being seriously ripped off”, he said.

Local weavers are also upset that key kuta populations have been the victim of swamp kauri mining (1). Kuta is a precious wetland plant used for weaving.


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