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Forest & Bird to mark On the Block campaign at Parliament

Forest & Bird to mark On the Block campaign today at Parliament

Wellington, 22 July 2014 – Independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird will hold a photo opportunity at Parliament at noon today to highlight the, unprecedented rights sell-off to frack, log, drill and mine New Zealand’s public conservation land.

Forest & Bird is also drawing attention to the sell-off of the rights to deep sea drilling and seabed mining within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and the subsidies that are intensifying the dairy sector.

Today’s event will feature a 12 by 6 metre image of New Zealand, made up of “for sale” signs. MPs from several political parties will be speaking.

The “for sale” signs have already appeared at more than 30 well-known locations around the country. That will have increased to more than 80 sites by the time the campaign ends.

“Much of what New Zealanders love about New Zealand is under direct threat in a host of ways,” says Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell.

“We are at a crossroads. We have to decide between the fast-cash, boom-and-bust, ignore-the-consequences approach to 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.

The government is currently selling oil and gas 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,” he says.

More signs will be appearing in Russell Forest and at Puhipuhi in the far north, Farewell Spit, the Denniston Plateau, Hot Water Beach and Taiaroa Head.

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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