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


New endangered species at risk from coal mining

New endangered species at risk from coal mining

A new species of endangered moth is living on conservation land slated for an open-cast coal mine.

The Avatar moth lives on the Denniston Plateau and is so threatened by coal mining related habitat destruction it has been classified as nationally critical.

Photos of the Avatar moth can be found here.

“It’s so urgent the Government fulfils its promise to end mining on conservation land,” says Debs Martin, Forest & Bird top of the south Regional Manager.

A single specimen of the moth was discovered by entomologist Brian Patrick during a Forest & Bird bioblitz in 2012. Since then, it has been found in wetlands at nearby Mt Rochfort but is still extremely localised.

Coal mining company Bathurst Resources is planning to mine the Avatar moth’s habitat in the area known as Whareatea West.

The company is planning for mines in the Whareatea West mining permit to follow its Escarpment Mine. The Escarpment opencast pit was begun in 2014, but was abandoned two years later in part because of falling coal prices.

However, in 2017 Bathurst partnered with Talley’s group to buy state coal miner Solid Energy, which ran the nearby Stockton Mine. Bathurst plans to combine its assets to allow widespread opencast mining right across the Stockton and Denniston plateaux by building an enormous mining haul road between the two areas.

Last year, Bathurst carried out new drilling on Denniston and this year the company restarted talks on mining the area with the West Coast Regional Council.

“As stewardship land, the Denniston Plateau has the lowest possible legal protection of all conservation land, but all the science points to it being an incredibly ecologically important area,” says Debs Martin.

“This highly specialised landscape would be irreversibly damaged by more mining,

“It is home to many nationally endangered birds and an incredible range of very unique and isolated animals. That is why we’re still finding and describing new species like the Avatar moth.

“To destroy it for a coal mine would be an absolute tragedy.”

The Avatar moth is one of the 86 colourful dayflying moths in the family Geometridae. After its discovery, Forest & Bird ran a public competition to name the new species.

The winner was “Avatar”, named after the title of the movie by James Cameron about a human mining company destroying endemic species on an alien moon.

In May 2019, Arctesthes avatar was scientifically described for the first time in the scientific journal Alpine Entomology.

A recent Forest & Bird magazine article about the moth and the scientific paper are both available here.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Saudi Oil Refinery Crisis

So the US and the Saudis claim to have credible evidence that those Weapons of Oil Destruction came from Iran, their current bogey now that Saddam Hussein is no longer available.

Evidently, the world has learned nothing from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 when dodgy US intel was wheeled out to justify the invasion of Iraq, thereby giving birth to ISIS and causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. More>>


PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>

PM's Post-Cab: "A Way Forward"

At Monday's post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of actions in response to the Labour Party's mishandling of sexual assault complaints. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s... The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Mishandling Of The Alleged Sexual Assault

The focus of Labour’s alleged sexual assault scandal has now shifted from the party organisation to the Beehive... This is now a crisis of Beehive management and response, not something occurring at a distance within the party organisation. More>>


'History Rectified': Rua Kēnana To Be Pardoned

An official pardon for Tūhoe prophet and leader Rua Kēnana is one step closer after the Te Pire kia Unuhia te Hara kai Runga i a Rua Kēnana: Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill was read in Parliament for the first time today. More>>


Mental Health: Initial Mental Health And Wellbeing Commission Appointed

The Government has announced details of the initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission which will play a key role in driving better mental health in New Zealand. More>>


people outside the meeting house at WaitangiEducation: NZ History To Be Taught In All Schools

“We have listened carefully to the growing calls from New Zealanders to know more about our own history and identity. With this in mind it makes sense for the National Curriculum to make clear the expectation that our history is part of the local curriculum and marau ā kura in every school and kura,” Jacinda Ardern said. More>>


Sexual Assault Claims Mishandled: Labour Party President Resigns

Jacinda Ardern: “This morning I was provided some of the correspondence from complainants written to the party several months ago. It confirms that the allegations made were extremely serious, that the process caused complainants additional distress, and that ultimately, in my view, the party was never equipped to appropriately deal with the issue…" More>>





InfoPages News Channels