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Kapiti Watchers A Bunch Of Do No Gooders

The campaign to stop eco-tourism on Kapiti is foolish and will do irreparable harm to innovation in conservation, according to ACT Conservation Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff.

"Graeme Ebbett and his group, who oppose any commercial venture on Kapiti are simply giving voice to unbridled envy disguised as concern for the environment.

"There is cause for caution, of course, but in the year 2002 it is surely not beyond our imagination to devise ways of protecting the Kapiti Sanctuary from harm. It is, after all, in the eco-tour operator's interests to do so.

"Indeed revenue from tourism will be put to good and lasting use to benefit the sanctuary. Besides, conditions set down in any resource consent will ensure the integrity of the sanctuary is not compromised.

"Eco-tourism, as a concept, has support from many people well known for their high standards and ecologically oriented values. No less a person than David Bellamy has praised private tourism as the way to the future. John Wamsley has developed educational tourism in private sanctuaries in Australia. Professor Ian Swingland who visited New Zealand in June last year was unequivocal; saying that if conservation is to succeed, long term, value has to be created for local people.

"New Zealand led the world in developing offshore sanctuaries and Wellington's Karori Sanctuary leads the pack in developing "inland island" sanctuaries. Let us not turn our backs on the contribution that appropriate commercial ventures can make to the further protection of ecosystems and to educate and enthuse the population. After all they are the ones who will protect eco-systems in the long run not a group of do no good interfering busy bodies," Mr Eckhoff concluded.


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