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Dead native bird symbolises National Conservation

A dead kereru (native pigeon) was an unexpected addition to the National Party's launch of its Conservation Policy on the West Coast today.

Protesters said the bird symbolised the utter hypocrisy of National's visit to a kiwi breeding facility to launch the policy. Native Forest Action Spokespers on Peter Russell said the National Government has shown abysmal concern for conservation. "National has aggressively supported Rainforest logging by Timberlands West Coast and has severely underfunded the Department of Conservation" Mr Russell said.

"We wanted to demonstrate graphically what National's policies really mean for native wildlife" said Mr Russell. The kereru had died after flying into a window.

The protesters intended to hand the bird over to the Department of Conservation for research purposes but it was confiscated by the police on the scene. "We feel it was reasonable to use of the bird to help stop further degradation of other threatened species' habitats" said Mr Russell. "Mrs Shipley's kiwi fondling foray was just a cheap PR stunt designed to make voters think National is in touch with nature. The truth is they've only shown an in terest in conservation when there's publicity in it."

As the protesters presented the kereru, Mr Russell said "welcome Mrs Shipley and Mr Smith. We want you to know we think it's very hypocritical of you to use this kiwi breeding facility for publicity. Your Government has neglected conservation terribly and has energetically backed Timberlands' log ging of kiwi habitat. We present you with this beautiful, but dead, kereru as a symbol of your government's efforts to push threatened species further towards extinction. It's disgusting that you're only giving attention to wildlife conservation as a cheap photo opportunity for an election campai gn."

Reporters asked how the Prime Minister justified the State Owned Enterprise logging kiwi habitat.

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