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Hikoi Heads South of Volcanic Plateau

Hikoi Heads South of Volcanic Plateau

Palmerston North, Tuesday 1 May 2012: The Hikoi ‘Aotearoa is Not For Sale’ gathered momentum in both Taihape and Palmerston North today. At the same time a successful support demonstration was held in Matamata while a hikoi from the east coast moved through Hawkes Bay.

Fifty people marched along the main street of Taihape followed by speeches at the War Memorial. Locals told of how current Government plan to sell power companies further threatens the Moawhango River which feeds into the Rangitikei River. Both already have had their natural flow and volumes changed for Genesis Energy’s hydro dams. River levels have also reduced with farm irrigation. All contribute to biodiversity loss.

If Genesis is privatised, the fear is that the corporate owners will demand still more water to meet higher and higher demands for profits for overseas investors. Rivers and local people will suffer more.

The Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement that the Government is secretly negotiating, if signed would allow corporations to sue our government if we created laws or bylaws that threatened profits like setting restrictions on how much water can be taken to create healthy minimum river flows.

Taihape locals also pointed out that the Government plans to axe rail stops at Taihape and 11 other locations. The railways continue to be punished following their past privatisation, being run into the ground, then being recognised as an essential infrastructure and bought back. The current Government under utilises, underfunds and under encourages the use of our national railway. Yet at the same time has earmarked $14,000,000,000,000 (yes, that’s $14 billion!) for unnecessary highway projects for a not too distant future when there will be less cars on the roads due to higher oil prices.

Why?

Later, two hundred people gathered in Palmerston North’s Square. The hikoi was greeted by local people and speeches followed.

Reports that tenders are being sought by multi-national corporations to drill for deep sea oil off the Wairarapa and the Cook Strait coasts (1) drew criticism.

There are big decisions being made swiftly and in secret about issues we need to make careful and informed decisions about. Why is the Government in such a hurry to gamble and lock in projects dangerous for our people, economy, climate, land, rivers and sea?

Tomorrow the hikoi marches through Levin at 9.30am and Otaki at 12 noon.

On Thursday 8 May at 8am we will meet outside the Johnsonville Railway Station carpark (Moorefield Road entrance) and hang a banner along the motorway overbridge advertising the hikoi. Following this we will move to Peter Dunne’s Electoral office to urge him to cross the floor and oppose asset sales. He is the most likely MP to do this and prevent sale assets built up over generations being unnecessarily sold.

(1) http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/6826890/Oil-wells-off-Wellington-set-to-go-ahead

ENDS


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