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Forest & Bird launches On the Block campaign

Forest & Bird launches On the Block campaign

Wellington, 14 July 2014 - The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird is putting up for sale signs to highlight the ongoing, unprecedented sell-off of the rights to frack, log, drill and mine New Zealand’s public conservation land. Forest & Bird is also highlighting the sell-off of the rights to deep sea drilling and seabed mining within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

For sale signs will appear in more than 80 locations around the country.

“New Zealanders might not fully realise it, but the very things that we love about New Zealand are under direct threat in a host of ways,” says Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell.

“The government is currently selling exploitation rights to 925,200 hectares of conservation and private land, and more than 39 million hectares of ocean, through an international tender process.

“The government also intends to hand out $400 million worth of subsidies for new irrigation dams, which will further intensify the agricultural sector, and is likely in turn to lead to even more rivers and lakes becoming toxic,” Kevin Hackwell says.

“And in late June the Minister of Conservation introduced and passed in just five hours - under urgency - legislation that will enable loggers to enter West Coast public conservation land for the first time in nearly 30 years.

“The combined effect of all this could have a major impact on our natural heritage.

“We are at the point at which we must choose between the fast cash, boom-and-bust, ignore-the-consequences approach to creating economic growth, and a transition to a truly sustainable, clean economy – that protects the environment and addresses the threat of climate change,” Kevin Hackwell says.

For sale signs have appeared on the edge of the Waitemata Harbour, beside Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, and on Tamaki Drive; at Cape Reinga; at Dunedin’s St Clair Beach; at Mount Maunganui; in the Buller Gorge Scenic Reserve; and on the Coromandel. Forest & Bird staff members from many of Forest & Bird’s 50 branches around the country, and members of other community-based groups, have been distributing and photographing the signs.

More signs will be appearing at Northland’s Russell Forest, at Puhipuhi, Farewell Spit, the Denniston Plateau, Hot Water Beach, and Taiaroa Head.

People are also being encouraged to download PDF versions of the for sale signs, take their own photos of those areas that are “On the Block,” and send the images to Forest & Bird’s main Facebook page.

More information on the campaign, including a map showing where the signs have appeared so far, can be found here.

Forest & Bird is New Zealand’s largest independent conservation organisation, with 50 branches nationwide. It protects our native plants, animals and wild places, on land and in our oceans. Forest & Bird is a non-partisan organisation. We encourage all political parties to have strong policies that support conservation and the environment.

ENDS

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