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Govt should be red-faced over snail case

14 December 2005

Govt should be red-faced over snail case

The Government should be embarrassed that environmental group Forest and Bird is being forced into a court challenge to save a very rare protected snail from potential extinction at the hands of a State Owned Enterprise, the Green Party says.

Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says the protected status of the threatened giant land snail (Powelliphanta Augustus) should mean that the Government are leading the charge to protect them.

Instead it has fallen to an environmental group to seek a ruling from a court over whether Solid Energy, a State Owned Enterprise, needs permission from the Conservation and Energy Ministers to kill them by mining their habitat.

"The Government should collectively be hanging its head in shame," Mrs Turei says.

"We are not talking about stamping out a few common garden snails to save the lettuces, this is about the potential extinction of an entire species. This is completely at odds with the Government's own Biodiversity Strategy."

Solid Energy has sought, under the Wildlife Act, permission from the Ministers of Conservation and Energy for consent to move by hand some Powelliphanta Augustus to a location that won't be mined. The company will then dig up and remove the summit of Mt Augustus, and in the process, most likely kill the remaining snails. If the moved snails fail to adapt to their new habitat the species will be wiped out.

All species of Powelliphanta land snails are absolutely protected under the Wildlife Act.

"The Green Party congratulates Forest and Bird for taking this step," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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