FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
16 August 2017
18,534 ask for protection of rare kiwi from pipeline at Parliament today
A mother and child pair of costumed kiwis sought sanctuary on Parliament steps today to highlight the plight of the endangered Haast Tokoeka Kiwi, threatened by a West Coast company’s plan to build a pipeline through their habitat in order to transport water for sale.
Together with organisers ActionStation, the costumed kiwis presented a petition signed by over 18,500 New Zealanders calling for the rare kiwi sanctuary to be protected, and the pipeline to be halted.
“The proposal to take our water, ship it offshore, through the habitat of one of our most iconic birds which is already at critical risk of extinction, is a violation of government’s duty to protect our environment,” said Action Station Campaign Manager Laura O’Connell Rapira.
ActionStation presented the petition to Green MP and Spokesperson for Environment Eugenie Sage, who agreed to table it for consideration by Parliament. Laura O’Connell Rapira said ActionStation had asked Conservation Minister Maggie Barry to accept the petition but she declined, and has consistently refused to meet with locals in her North Shore electorate to talk about the issue.
Labour Party West Coast MP Damien O’Connor also refused to accept the petition.
Renowned conservationist and University of Otago Emeritus Professor, Sir Alan Mark described the plan “a great violation of a protected area”, saying that he was prepared to “stand in front of bulldozers” to stop the threat to endangered wildlife.
Okuru Enterprises, trading as “Alpine Water”, were earlier this year granted permission to lay a pipeline through the sanctuary protecting some of the last remaining Haast Tokoeka kiwi, in order to transport 800,000 tonnes of mountain water a month, extracted from near Mount Aspiring National Park, to ships on the West Coast.
The Department of Conservation have deemed the species of kiwi to be “nationally critical”, with only 400 remaining, around 40 of them in the protected area near to the proposed pipeline.