Sacrificing habitat of threatened species for irrigation reservoir is a bad deal

The Department of Conservation’s (DoC) decision to allow the habitat of threatened species such as long-tailed bat to be used for an irrigation reservoir sets a dangerous precedent that threatens our native wildlife, the Green Party said today.

DoC’s Director-General has agreed to revoke the conservation status of 22 hectares of Ruahine Forest Park to allow the Ruataniwha irrigation dam and reservoir to proceed in return for 170 ha of private land called the Smedley Block.

“DoC’s decision to sacrifice the homes of threatened native wildlife such as long-tailed bats, North Island fernbird, and native fish to subsidise irrigation does not represent the desire of New Zealanders to protect our distinctive plants and wildlife,” said Green Party acting conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. If a development relies on destroying the habitat of threatened native species, it should not go ahead.

“The Green Party will protect the habitat of threatened species, giving them a safe place to live in. New Zealanders love our distinctive wildlife such as our bats and native fish, and want to see them protected, not put under further pressure from habitat loss.

“New Zealand only has two indigenous land mammals and long-tailed bats are one of them.

“DoC’s decision downplays the conservation values of  the public land it is giving away and overstates the values of the Smedley Block, which it is getting in return. 

“The Smedley Block is not even part of an area that departmental ecological survey reports have recommended for protection.  It has been logged, is grazed and DoC reports can only say that the exchange land is “promising habitat” for skinks and geckos but does not confirm their presence.

“The losers in this deal are our native wildlife, especially bats, fernbird and native fish, including several threatened species, and New Zealanders who love our outdoors.

“DoC’s website lists the threats to long-tailed bats as including cutting down roost trees, predators and introduced species. It can now add DoC’s own short-sightedness in giving up bat habitat to irrigators,” said Ms Sage.

Action

Support our Climate Action Plan for bigger bolder climate action

We agree with all five of the School Strike for Climate's demands. Read more and sign the petition.
Take Action

Action

Show your support to end housing inequality

New Zealand’s housing market is becoming increasingly divided between people who own their own homes and those forced to rent for life...
Take Action

Latest Environment Announcements

Story

Minister welcomes report of nation’s household plastic rubbish, recycling practices

A new report on New Zealand’s plastic rubbish and recycling practices is being welcomed by the Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage.
Read More

Story

Flood of support for Top of the South catchment

Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Governm...
Read More

Policy

Healthy nature

Nature sustains us and is the basis of all life.  In Government the Greens have led the way in making sure our precious plants and animals are pr...
See More

Story

OIA reforms mean more attention to nature and cultural values

The Green Party welcome proposed changes to the Overseas Investment Act (OIA) that will see stronger controls on applications by overseas interests...
Read More

Story

California is burning, the US must not walk away from the Paris Agreement

Green Party Co-leader James Shaw has expressed his exasperation at the decision by the United States to officially withdraw from the Paris Agreemen...
Read More

Story

Minister announces fresh funding for community-led Hokianga environment project

A unique project enhancing the mana and wellbeing of the environment and the people of the Hokianga is to receive $300000 over three years from the...
Read More