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Protest March Against Fast-track Bill Announced For Auckland

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Greenpeace, Forest and Bird, Communities Against Fast Track (CAFT), Coromandel Watchdog, WWF-New Zealand, and Kiwis Against Seabed Mining have announced a ‘ March for Nature’ on June 8 down Queen Street in Auckland to protest the Fast-Track Approvals Bill and the coalition government’s War on Nature".

Greenpeace Aotearoa executive director Russel Norman says, "The Fast-Track Bill is the most damaging piece of environmental legislation any Government has introduced in living memory. People are angry, and it’s time to march."

"New Zealanders care deeply about the natural world. Many of us have fought long and hard to stop mining on conservation land and to stop oil exploration. We’ve successfully prevented the start of seabed mining, and we’ve gained critical protection for forests, oceans and fresh water. We won’t stand by and allow all this to be dismantled by Christopher Luxon in his War on Nature," says Norman.

Forest & Bird CEO Nicola Toki says, "Along with the climate crisis, the world faces a biodiversity crisis, and New Zealand is already ground zero with the highest rate of species extinction in the world."

"How we look after our environment is something that all New Zealanders care deeply about. That’s why resource management reform needs to have widespread public support. It needs to provide stability and certainty and be able to endure. The fact that tens of thousands of New Zealanders filed submissions opposing the Bill proves that’s not the case with this proposed legislation", says Ms Toki.

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"This bill is a lose-lose. It fails our environment and fails our economy. This legislation is a backwards step for our country and needs to be thrown out."

"New Zealand’s environment is already under great threat from climate change and biodiversity loss. We need to restore, invest and protect what we have left, not open the gates to development that will make things much worse."

Communities Against Fast Track ( CAFT, a coalition of community groups from across the motu opposing the bill) spokesperson Augusta Macassey-Pickard says, "This bill will see communities shut out of having a say on projects in their rohe, projects that could have a devastating and lasting impact on their local environment. Our coalition represents those small communities across the motu who are fighting seabed mining, coal and mineral mining, fighting to protect our water, our forests, our biodiversity and the ocean. This bill is a travesty that would take our beautiful country back to the dark ages."

Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki spokesperson Catherine Delahunty says, "The Fast Track Bill is a direct attack on the forests, mountains, waters and communities of the beautiful Hauraki Coromandel.. We have a long and proud tradition of protecting our area from the destruction of gold mining. The Bill attacks our rights to participate in these major decisions that will have intergenerational consequences, and is a major assault to te Tiriti rights. And Government Ministers attacks on the endangered frog species found only in our forests, emphasise that our unique biodiversity must be defended. We will join the March in strength,to let the Government know Hauraki Coromandel is too precious to mine."

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining Chairperson Cindy Baxter says, "Seabed miners like Trans Tasman Resources have failed to get their projects across the line in Aotearoa because of the havoc they would wreak on our ocean environment and the massive opposition to their industry. We’ve fought them all the way to the Supreme Court, along with Iwi and the fishing industry. Now, they want to get in through the back door. Kiwis love their oceans and don’t want the South Taranaki Bight to be turned into an industrial zone. We call on the government to ditch this atrocity of a bill."

WWF-New Zealand CEO Dr Kayla Kingdon-Bebb says, "The Fast-track Approvals Bill is at the heart of this Government's systematic war on our natural world and will put our country on a fast-track to unprecedented environmental destruction. This anti-democratic Bill concentrates power in the hands of three Ministers and allows them to run roughshod over the few environmental protections we have in place for our threatened wildlife and landscapes - while ignoring the concerns of local communities and tangata whenua.

"When Aotearoa New Zealand is already in the midst of a climate emergency and thousands of our native taonga species are plummeting towards extinction, we can't afford to give extractive industries like coal mining a free pass to trash our protected landscapes, endanger our wildlife and sabotage our international climate commitments.

"Our leaders are showing they're prepared to shoulder future generations with unconscionable costs from their climate inaction and allow our native taonga species to go extinct on their watch. But we won't stand for it. We know Kiwis care deeply about our environment, and it's time now to show our Government that this reckless Bill won't go unnoticed or unopposed."

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