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The Year in Review - a conservation perspective

December 29, 2001 - Wellington

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

The Year in Review - a conservation perspective


There were some very good conservation outcomes in 2001, but greater progress is needed on marine issues says Forest and Bird.

The good conservation outcomes for 2001 include:

- The Government’s acceptance of recommendations to allocate former Timberlands West Coast lands to national parks and conservation parks. This ends a 35 year campaign to stop native logging on public lands.

- Creation of Rakiura National Park. Stewart Island, with its wonderful forests and birdlife was a sitter for National Park status. Maybe one day it will made predator free?

- Controls on set-netting to save the critically endangered North Island Hectors Dolphins from extinction. There are only 100 dolphins left and set-netting poses a major threat.

- A two year moratorium on new aquaculture developments. This moratorium is much needed to allow sensible coastal planing in the face of a deluge of aquaculture development applications.

- Deer declared a national pest. It has been a long time coming but finally the Government has recognised that deer really do have a major impact on the regeneration of native forests.

- The creation of New Zealand’s first tussock land conservation park (Torlesse). Tussock lands are under represented in New Zealand's conservation parks and national parks network.

The bad conservation outcomes for 2001 include:

- No new marine reserves created. In its two years in office, this Government has not created a single marine reserve. The Government’s track record in this area is poor. Forest and Bird recently launched a campaign to achieve more marine reserves.

- The fishing industry appeals the Minister of Fisheries’ decision to save the North Island Hector’s Dolphin from extinction, so unfortunately fishing continues. It is time for the fishing industry to get real, drop the appeal and help save the world’s rarest marine dolphin.

- For yet another year the Government sat back and watched the painted apple moth spread throughout West Auckland. Now it is in the Waitakere Ranges, including water supply catchments, making it very difficult to control. Bring back the Operation Evergreen team that blitzed the Tussock Moth!

- The Government fails to take any action to halt seabird by-catch. A fishing boat, the MV Sonrisa, returns from a single long lining trip with over 300 dead seabirds, including petrels and albatross. Some albatross species have declined by 90% in the last 50 years, significant numbers of seabirds are still caught, but the Government does nothing to require fishing boats to reduce by-catch.

- One of the last mainland colonies of the yellowhead becomes extinct. The population on Mount Stokes in the Marlborough sounds succumbs to rats, despite DoC’s efforts to reduce rat numbers in the area.

- The Government announced a change to the Resource Management Act that will reduce community participation and compromise fair and sustainable decision making. Already the community has the opportunity to comment on only 5% of resource consent applications and the Government’s proposed changes will reduce this percentage even further.

The year ended on a tragic note with the death of Sir Peter Blake early in his new career as a fulltime conservationist. His potential as a global conservationist was just starting to be realised.

Contact: Eric Pyle, Conservation Manager Tel. 04 233 2993 (home), 025 227 8420

ENDS

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