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Green Supporters Join Happy Valley Occupation

14 March 2006

Green Supporters Of Save Happy Valley Join Occupation

Twenty-two members of the Green Party, of various ages, walked into Happy Valley for the weekend to show their support to members of the indefinite occupation.

Green Party members tramped into the valley with packs laden with fresh fruit, vegetables, first aid supplies, and tarpaulins for the current occupiers, and cooked them dinner to show their appreciation for the courageous effort being made to protect this pristine New Zealandeco-system. The Save Happy Valley Coalition is grateful for the support shown by members of the Green Party and is pleased to be able to share interest and concern, as well as a decent meal, with members of the party.

In addition to the Green Party, the Save Happy Valley Coalition's occupation of the proposed mine site has received messages of support from Greenpeace, Forest & Bird, New Zealand University Students Association, Buller Conservation Group, ECO and concerned members of the public from all over New Zealand and the world.

"The support we have received has been overwhelming, and serves to show that the public is firmly opposed to Solid Energy's destructive plans. The Labour government is standing by while a state-owned enterprise pollutes our waterways, destroys habitat of great spotted kiwi (roa) and contributes to climate change," said Frances Mountier, Save Happy Valley Coalition spokesperson.

Both the Save Happy Valley Coalition and the Green Party urge the government and the public to start placing a higher priority on renewable energy and stop environmentally unsustainable mining practices.

*********

The Save Happy Valley Coalition is a collection of groups and individuals from around Aotearoa committed to stopping Solid Energy's planned open-cast coal mine in Happy Valley (Upper Waimangaroa Valley) on the West Coast. The coalition is made up of West Coast locals, students, workers and the general public. The group has a track record of creative protests, occupations and lock-ons, as well as producing a variety of informative media. More information about the coalition and its history can be found at http://www.savehappyvalley.org.nz/aboutus.htm

The planned mine would destroy the habitat of thirteen endangered species. It would also pollute local waterways through acid mine drainage, and, when burnt, the coal would contribute twelve million tonnes of climate changing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The five million tonnes of coal is all destined for export, mostly to steel-making industries in Japan and China.

Solid Energy has plans for several extensive underground mines south of the one planned for Happy Valley. Another 3-6 opencast mines are proposed for further south – including one at Deep Creek that would be at least twice the size of the mine in Happy Valley.

ENDS

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