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Greens uncover Meridian's secret report

15 April 2008

Greens uncover Meridian's secret report on Mokihinui


A secret report which concludes that Meridian's proposed Mokihinui hydro-dam will be disastrous for biodiversity was tabled in Parliament today by Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei.

"Meridian commissioned this report last year to suggest ways the biodiversity impacts of the dam could be offset, but when their scientists inconveniently concluded that mitigation was impossible, Meridian chose to hush the report up," Mrs Metiria Turei says.

"In lay terms, the report unequivocally says that there is no way to mitigate the impact of this dam on our native species, but this is exactly what the Resource Management Act requires," Mrs Turei says.

The report concludes: "Several major management actions that would be required to offset the residual impacts on biodiversity appear unattainable, reflecting the high biodiversity value of the impacted area, [and] the absence of realistic alternative riverine systems that could be restored to offset the significant residual biodiversity loss".

"By failing to release this report, Meridian has chosen to protect their commercial interests ahead of a unique and irreplaceable environment. The Green Party believes it is in the public interest for people to know what Meridian's own scientists say is at risk," Mrs Turei says.

"I am disappointed that in Parliament today the Minister made it clear that she believes it is possible to 'reconcile energy and conservation interests' on the Mokihinui River, despite the report categorically stating that this is impossible.

"The Department of Conservation ranks the Mokihinui River as the seventh most significant river for biodiversity. NIWA has identified the Mokihinui River as 'nationally important for aquatic biodiversity values'.

"Meridian wants to fell large swathes of native rimu forest, and drown an area of 330 hectares of conservation land - it would be one of the largest destructions of native forest on conservation land since 1999 when Greens helped this Government end native forest logging.

"I encourage the Minister to see what is at stake herself and visit this beautiful and unique river with endangered blue ducks and long-finned eels, as I did last week when I rafted the length of the proposed dam."

ENDS


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