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Vote for Nature – Forest and Bird

Submitted by on November 16, 2011 – 9:44 am


Forest and Bird

A Vote for Nature is a vote for the New Zealand we love and want to pass on to our children

In the lead up to the election, we need to remind political parties that the environment and conservation should be at the centre of planning our country’s future.

We can make a difference if we carefully consider the parties’ positions on these important issues and keep them in mind when we vote.

Political parties and their candidates will respond if they know the weight of public opinion supports a sustainable future where we invest in our natural capital rather than spend it recklessly until nothing of value is left.

Politicians had to listen last year when New Zealanders told them they didn’t want mining in national parks and other precious conservation areas. They will listen again if New Zealanders speak loudly enough during the campaign and at the ballot box.

Most of the talk ahead of November’s election has been of the downturn in the economy and the rebuilding of Christchurch. Some candidates talk as if the environment and conservation are luxuries we cannot afford in hard times.

But the economic slowdown and the tragic earthquakes in Christchurch are an opportunity to take a fresh look at how we do things in New Zealand and to place the environment at the centre of a secure future and sustainable economy.

Agriculture is the basis of our most valuable goods exports but rapid intensification, especially the dairy boom, is threatening to choke our waterways with pollution and to change the natural character of places like the Mackenzie Country. Our clean, green “100% Pure” image is crucial as a marketing edge for our tourism and agricultural exports but it is at risk of being seen as a sham.

There is a limit to how many cows we can sustainably support in New Zealand and our future prosperity will need to be based on being more than a supplier of agricultural commodities. In a world trying to get to grips with climate change, exporting coal and other fossil fuels is no answer either.

The destruction of Christchurch offers the opportunity to rebuild a sustainable city with open spaces, room for native plants and animals and good public transport. Christchurch has the opportunity to become a model for the rest of New Zealand and for the world too.

Our native animals and plants and our landscapes are unique. They are what makes us New Zealanders and we must protect them for our sake and because they have as much right to their place here as we do.

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Forest & Bird has drawn up a list of the policy goals we think are important for the future of New Zealand here.

Some of these reflect our major campaigns – such as saving the wild beauty of the Mokihinui River from a hydro dam, protecting the unique Denniston Plateau from open-cast mining and the stopping the large scale conversion of the Mackenzie Country tussocklands into irrigated and fertilised pasture. These places are special and irreplaceable.

The policy goals also reflects the pressing need to reverse the rapid decline of freshwater quality, expand protection for our marine environment, and save our endangered species on land and in the water.

Forest & Bird has asked the political parties to commit themselves to these objectives. You can see their responses here.

We can ensure Nature’s voice is heard in the election by asking our local candidates to support these commitments and to state their position.

We should tell them we want them to work towards a sustainable future which protects our environment and secures our future. On November 26, we should weigh up their responses and Vote for Nature when we vote.

What You Can Do In 5 minutes

  • Read our eco-poll
  • Print off and put up a poster or placard. Download PDFs of the  posters here.
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