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Greens Send Stuffed Kiwi To Nats And Labour

4 October 1999

Stuffed kiwi message to Nats and Labour

The Green Party today sent a stuffed toy kiwi to Labour Leader Helen Clark
and one to Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, saying they were symbols of the
fate of New Zealand's main icon under their governments' policies.

The stuffed kiwis were sent to Ms Clark and Mrs Shipley as the Green Party
released its flagship conservation policy, with the main policy points
headed 'Saving the Kiwi... and a thousand other threatened species.'

"Successive governments, by underfunding the Conservation Department, have
in effect stuffed the kiwi," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said
today.

"The Forest and Bird Protection Society is asking for just $10 million a
year for predator-free zones to stop the alarming death rate of our national
symbol," she said. "But the Government has declined. Instead there was a
cut in conservation funding from $201.7 million in last year's budget to
$190.8 million this year."

"Meanwhile kiwi numbers in Northland, supposedly the last North Island
stronghold, dropped by 18 percent last year. Kiwi are breeding but there's
no systematic trapping or poisoning of stoats which are eating young kiwi as
fast as they hatch."

The Green Party has pledged to review conservation funding and priorities to
ensure the Conservation Department has the funds to do its job. The party
supports the establishment of "mainland islands" of predator free native
habitat to protect threatened species.

Ms Fitzsimons says the Green Party is the only one which would return native
birds to the forests, rather than protecting trees only.

"The Government's own biodiversity strategy aims only to halt the decline of
threatened plants and wildlife. But under that policy threatened species
would remain threatened. The Greens want to go further. We want to restore
viable populations of plants and animals unique to New Zealand, so we can
take our children for a walk in the forest and see kaka and pigeons," she
said. "We don't want these birds, or the kiwi, to be left as zoo exhibits."

* Jeanette Fitzsimons is in Auckland today and available for
interviews. She can be contacted on 025 586 068, 025 507183 or at the
Auckland Green Party office 09 336 1455.

* Ms Fitzsimons and Rod Donald MP, along with leading conservation
photographer and Green list candidate Craig Potton will launch the party's
flagship policy to supporters, environmentalists and the public during a
visual presentation by Mr Potton at Unitech's Blue Lecture Theatre,
Auckland, (entry from Gate 3, Carrington Rd), at 8pm today.

ENDS

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