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Forest & Bird damns Mokihinui decision

Forest & Bird damns Mokihinui decision

Conservation organisation Forest & Bird is astounded at the decision to destroy the West Coast’s Mokihinui River by building a hydro dam.

“This will be the greatest inundation of conservation land for a hydro scheme that New Zealand has ever seen,” Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin says.

“It’s a tragedy for the rare native blue ducks, giant land snails, longfin eels and other creatures that live in or beside the Mokihinui. They will be wiped out by Meridian Energy’s massive hydro dam flooding their homes,” Debs Martin says.

“Of course, it’s a great loss for people as well because the Mokihinui is a wonderful river for rafting and the gorge is stunning for trampers,” Debs Martin says.

Meridian plans to build an 85-metre-high dam on the West Coast’s third-largest river. More than 330 hectares of river gorge and forest will disappear under a 14-kilometre-long artificial lake.

Forest & Bird has no faith in the mitigation measures required. “Mitigation measures were thoroughly discussed during the consent process. Nothing convinced our independent scientists that the measures could outweigh the devastation of a dam,” Debs Martin says.

The Independent conservation organisation supports the Stockton hydro project and other renewable energy schemes, including energy efficiency measures. “These are the real solutions to our country’s electricity future,” Debs Martin says

She notes that the hearing committee found the issue difficult and the decision was not unanimous.

Forest & Bird is considering appealing the decision. “It’s vital that the Mokihinui River remains wild and free flowing because these pristine rivers are under increasing threat around New Zealand,” Debs Martin says.


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