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Ruling pushes snails closer to extinction

15 December 2006

Ruling pushes endangered snails closer to extinction

The Green Party is disappointed that the Environment Court has today ruled that coal mining takes priority over the survival of an endangere
d giant land snail.

The Greens support the Save Happy Valley Campaign in its efforts to protect the last remaining habitat of the endangered Powelliphanta Augustus snail from state-owned mining company Solid Energy which wants to mine the land for coal, Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

But today's Environment Court decision has dealt the campaign another blow in deciding that it did not have the jurisdiction to stop Solid Energy's mining programme despite its concerns.

"The Court accepted the evidence from the experts about the severe risk the snail population is under. The Court agreed that Solid Energy's action were noxious, dangerous, offensive and objectionable.

"This highlights the emptiness of the Government's Biodiversity Strategy and its rhetoric about protecting New Zealand's native endangered species. "The Government's own company could destroy this species and the Ministers of Conservation and Energy seem prepared to just stand by and watch it happen.

"The Greens support the call to these Ministers to act now to protect what remains of the snails' habitat and give this species a chance of surviving through this century. Surely they do not want to preside over another extinction that can be readily avoided?

The Powelliphanta Augustus snails are New Zealand's largest snail, unique for their voracious carnivorous appetite. While not as cuddly as the kiwi, they reside in the same habitat and their demise is indicative of the general destruction of the habitat that protects these, and other, endangered species.

"We absolutely must protect them from extinction," Mrs Turei says.


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