Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Hunger strike to Save Happy Valley

Hunger strike to Save Happy Valley

August 30th 2004

A hunger strike was initiated today by two South Island students, who will confine themselves to a small platform suspended from a tree on the road to Stockton, near Granity on the West Coast, in protest of the proposed "Cypress" mine in Happy Valley.

"What we are doing may seem dangerous, but the dangers posed by the Cypress Mine are far greater. We want to illustrate the hunger and suffering that global climate change will cause, to empathise with those who have no voice in the world." stated Fiona Gibson, one of the hunger strikers.

A number of campaigners from around the country have also occupied the site of the proposed "Cypress" mine in Happy Valley, 25km from Westport. The campaigners hope to highlight the unique beauty of the area, as well as the environmental damage caused by the neighbouring Stockton mine.

"We're here to show our support for local groups and individuals that are trying to save Happy Valley, and to show that people all over New Zealand are against this mine" says Rob Cadmus, one of the hunger strikers.

Happy Valley is a unique and diverse ecosystem, and forms a significant part of an area marked out as the most Recommended Area for Protection by a 1998 DoC survey of the Ngakawau Ecological District. In the recent resource consent hearings the Director-General of DoC requested that the consents for the mine be declined, reflecting the importance of the area. The Happy Valley mine proposal has sparked outrage from around the country because of the inherently destructive nature of open-cast mining, the range of native habitat that will be destroyed, and the shocking record of Solid Energy in monitoring the damage caused by their current mines (not considered by the resource consents committee).

"Open cast coal mining is the most destructive form of mining. The top of the land is scraped off, horrific pollution and acid mine drainage is created, and local rivers are stripped of fish and invertebrates. No amount of rehabilitation effort will restore it within our, or our childrens lifetimes." said Mr Cadmus.

Of particular concern is that the proposed mine site is home to a range of threatened species, including great spotted kiwi, western weka, and an especially rare giant land snail. Habitat loss is the main reason for the decline of these species. New Zealand is rated as one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world, but that status is threatened by blatant acions such as the Cypress mine. Solid Energy has proposed a range of mitigations for the damage caused by the mine, but this has raised serious doubts from DoC .

"The proposed Cypress mine contradicts what the government hopes to achieve with the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy. The government is spending millions of dollars on trying to save our endangered animals, while at the same time destroying their habitat - a classic example of digging a hole with one hand and filling it in with the other." said zoologist Jack Mace.

The burning of coal produces some of the most noxious greenhouse gasses, especially carbon dioxide, that contribute to global warming. The scientific majority believe global warming is the biggest risk to global stability, with the potential for massive famines,an increase in the frequency and intensity of storms and widespread flooding. New Zealand, as an island nation, is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with rising sea levels causing widespread coastal erosion. It has been suggested that the vicious droughts and storms that have plagued the country in recent times, causing massive economic damage, are in part due to the effects of climate change.

"We want people to realise that their electricity is not pulled out of thin air. It is produced by destroying habitat and polluting the environment. New Zealand maintains an excessive lifestyle, exceeding Americans in wastage. Simple changes and an increase in environmental conciousness in this country would stem wastage of energy. If New Zealand is serious about marketing itself as a 'Clean, Green Country', it is time that we started living up to our claims." stated Fiona Gibson

"The mine is just not worth it: there are alternatives. New Zealand has the potential to become much more efficient in its use of electricity, develop wind and solar power, reduce demand, etc. By heading down the coal road we are ignoring the potential for these alternatives. For example, we drove to Westport in a van that runs off used "waste" vegetable oil... Alternatives exist - we just need to use them!" says Rob Cadmus.


1 Ngakawau Ecological district Survey report for the Protected Natural Areas Programme, DoC

2 Dean Van Milo - Director General (DoC) submission against proposed "Cypress" mine

3 New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy. sponsored by DoC, MfE, MAF,

4 Philip Knightbridge, DoC, submission on proposed "Cypress" mine


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election