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A Green world where extinction is an outdated term

A Green world where extinction is an outdated term

The Green Party's Conservation Policy envisions a New Zealand where extinction is a word of the past, endangered plants and animals are restored to healthy numbers, and more of the land and sea are protected. The Policy, launched by Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons at the Forest and Bird annual meeting this morning, addresses some of the toughest problems facing New Zealand.

"For too long now successive governments have paid lip-service to conservation issues in favour of efforts to boost the economy and negotiate unnecessary free trade agreements.

"Energy and agricultural development is destroying habitat in our braided rivers and wetlands, Japanese whaling companies are about to start slaughtering the humpbacked whales that frequent our coastlines and fishing companies are allowed to kill thousands of seabirds every year through accidental bycatch." New Zealand's natural environment is a treasure that we all share and all have the responsibility to protect, Ms Fitzsimons says.

The Green Policy includes:
* more funding for ground-based pest control to protect threatened species and habitats while minimizing conflict over aerial poisoning;
* tighter biosecurity measures to prevent new pests from getting in to the country;
* no land sales to overseas persons unless they are resident in New Zealand for at least 185 days each year
* passing the long-delayed Marine Reserves Bill, to protect seamounts and deep water ecosystems;
* setting near zero limits for fisheries by-catch of threatened birds and mammals, and closing the fishery when they are exceeded. Companies would then take precautions to prevent deaths;
* impact assessment of fishing techniques. Companies would have to show that methods like bottom trawling and long-lining would not damage the marine environment, before they were approved;
* opposing proposals to dismember the Conservation Department;
* a Public Access Commissioner to negotiate access across private land to conservation areas.

"Most of all, we refer conservationists to all our policies, which are designed to protect ecosystems from poor developments in energy, agriculture, forestry, fishing and tourism. Conservation must permeate our whole economy if we are to save our shared treasures from extinction" said Ms Fitzsimons.

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