Forest & Bird (BirdLife in New Zealand) has uncovered Government plans to allow mining in 7000 hectares of high-value conservation land in the West Coast’s Paparoa National Park, Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula. Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says all the areas have outstanding ecological and landscape value, which is why they have been protected from mining. “We’re not talking about gorse-covered hillsides with the odd tree in these areas. We are talking about rare native Hochstetter’s Frogs, Endangered Brown Teal [Anas chlorotis], mature forest and pristine wilderness areas.” Forest & Bird said that it does not see any sense in Government plans to create a conservation fund from mining royalties. “If you don’t dig up wilderness areas, you don’t need to spend even more money in vain attempts to put them back together again,” added Hackwell.
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