Swamp kauri wetlands too valuable to rip up

The Greens in Government would put a moratorium on further mining of swamp kauri after new research reveals huge tracts of wetland, currently able to be mined without a resource consent, may be more ecologically valuable than first thought, the Green Party said today.

Research by the Ministry for Primary Industries released today shows that almost 80 percent of land containing swamp kauri may have significant ecological value, despite these areas currently being classified as “unlikely” to have any. It also estimates that potentially 50 percent of known swamp kauri has already been extracted in New Zealand.

“We simply shouldn’t be ripping up our wetlands for short-term profit when the environmental destruction will last for generations to come," said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“Wetlands are destroyed in the process of mining swamp kauri - wetlands which are essential for land to retain water long-term and that act as natural purifiers for the water we drink.

“This land is regarded as having no identifiable ecological value so Northland councils are unlikely to bat an eyelid if someone jumps on a digger and starts ripping up a wetland to get to the kauri.

"This is a prime example of a short term, high impact extractive industry exploiting a scarce and finite resource.

“The National Government is allowing our environment to be trashed for scant return. Hardly any jobs are created in Northland or elsewhere as swamp kauri is shipped off overseas with virtually no value-added locally.

"Nathan Guy needs to stand up to this industry and stop allowing this precious taonga to be mined until we know if and how it can be done sustainably," Ms Sage said.

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