Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Time to protect Te Wāhipounamu

Yesterday, the government listened to the people and backed down from its plans to mine our national parks. But as WWF-New Zealand point out, this doesn't mean our precious places are properly protected. Te Wāhipounamu is a UNESCO World Heirtage Site in Fiordland and Westland, recognised for its outstanding environmental value. The area includes Fiordland, Mt Aspiring and Mt Cook national parks, which are protected under schedule 4, but also large tracts of conservation land which are not protected. And with the government's new plans to encourage mining on the rest of the conservation estate, those areas in Te Wāhipounamu are now under threat.

It doesn't have to be this way. The New Zealand Conservation Authority recommended in its submission [PDF] that World Heritage Sites be added to schedule 4 to ensure their protection. That seems like a damn good idea to me.