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Give polar road the cold shoulder - Greens

29 November 2004

Give polar road the cold shoulder - Greens

Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is outraged by Phil Goff's statement that Antarctica’s wilderness values could be “offset” by the convenience of avoiding flights to the South Pole.

She is applauding Sir Edmund Hillary for speaking out against US plans to build a polar road saying “the Antarctic is internationally recognised as the last true wilderness on Earth”.

“The proposed road would seriously compromise the continent’s wilderness values and inevitably clear the way for others to be built there; it’s the thin edge of the wedge,” said Ms Fitzsimons, the Green Party’s Environment and Conservation Spokesperson.

“Is there no wilderness value that cannot be ‘offset’ by human convenience? The project requires explosives and the filling of crevasses. This will certainly have environmental impacts.”

“When the road construction began three years ago, the environmental effect was not considered. The project was subsequently called to account and forced to have an assessment done.

Ms Fitzsimons said that the US-owned and controlled road would not only damage its immediate area, it would also compromise the pristine wilderness that has led to calls for the Antarctic to be declared a World Park.

“It would make it easier in future to argue for more development for overland tourism and for an end to the minerals exploration ban that currently exists. We need to listen to Sir Ed.”

ENDS

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