It was most disconcerting to see grown men on the west coast crying because Eugenie Sage and her minions have threatened to shut down recreational white baiting – a family tradition. With support of the Greens, Forest & Bird (F&B) are throwing their weight around far more than they did before the Greens crawled into government, and it’s got out of hand.

F&B have carte blanche to oppose developments that don’t fit their ideology and already they have:

  • Stopped the development of the Te Kuha mine.
  • Closed down parts of the Waitakere Ranges after persuading the Auckland City Council (ACC) it might prevent kauri die-back even through there is no evidence this will work.
  • Threatened the ACC with legal action over a 35-year permit to discharge stormwater into the sea because “stormwater could contain heavy metals and other contaminants that pollute streams and the sea.”

F&B have far too much say in important decisions like the Te Kuha mine that would have provided jobs and funded local industry. Ministers declined the mining permit because “the potential economic benefits of the mine were large enough to outweigh the irreparable damage to an area with very high, unique and nationally significant conservation values.”

The decision should have read “ministers declined the mining permit because this government opposes all mining.”

Where is the burden of proof in spurious actions by F&B? Closing Waitakere walking tracks might prevent kauri die-back? Auckland stormwater could contain contaminants?

F&B lost the fight at Waiuku, where residents have, for decades, been maintaining their shoreline, with the support of the Auckland City Council to the tune of $10,000 pa for work and chainsaw maintenance.

“An environmental group [Forest and Bird] says it is “shocked” to see Auckland Council promoting the work of a community group that has cleared 25 hectares of mangroves from an estuary as “positive“.

“Mangroves are amazing native plants that have important roles in the environment. They protect our coastal communities from inundation from the sea by slowing down waves and absorbing flood waters, they absorb carbon from the atmosphere to help prevent climate change, and provide essential nursery habitat for fishes, and feeding grounds for native birds like at-risk banded rail.”

A newspaper

But Waiuku residents are much better informed about their own environment, particularly the mangroves and the banded rail, than F&B.

WAIUKU RESIDENT IAN SCOBIE, WHO STARTED THE MANGROVE REMOVAL PROJECT INITIALLY TO CLEAR A PASSAGE FOR HIM TO KAYAK INTO THE ESTUARY, SAID FROM THEIR OBSERVATIONS THE REMOVAL HAD IMPROVED THE ENVIRONMENT.

“WE FOUND AS WE CLEARED THE AREAS WE GOT VERY POSITIVE EFFECTS, WITH FISH, BIRDS, CRABS – YOU NAME IT – RETURNING, PLUS THE ADDED IMPROVEMENT OF THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT WITH BOATING AND THE AESTHETIC APPEARANCE.”

SCOBIE SAID THEY HAD BEEN PLANTING THE SHORELINE IN NATIVE RUSH SPECIES, THOSE THAT WERE THERE PRIOR TO THE MANGROVES, TO COUNTER EROSION AND SEDIMENT ENTERING THE ESTUARY, AND TO ENHANCE THE BANDED RAIL HABITAT.

“WE BELIEVE THE RUSHES ARE ACTUALLY A BETTER HABITAT FOR THE BANDED RAIL THAN THE MANGROVES.

F&B was forced to back away from Waiuku and are now gunning for the development of a marina at Coromandel – 10 years in the planning.

FOREST & BIRD IS URGING THE GOVERNMENT NOT TO FUND AN ENVIRONMENTALLY DAMAGING MARINA DEVELOPMENT IN COROMANDEL.

THE PROJECT WOULD INVOLVE DIGGING OUT A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF SEDIMENT AND MANGROVES ON THE MARGINS OF COROMANDEL HARBOUR TO CONSTRUCT A MARINA BASIN AND DREDGING A CANAL TO DEEPER WATER.

DURING THE PAST TEN YEARS, THAMES COROMANDEL DISTRICT COUNCIL HAS COMMISSIONED STUDIES THAT SHOWED ELEVATED LEVELS OF HEAVY METALS, INCLUDING ARSENIC AND MERCURY, IN THE SEA FLOOR OF COROMANDEL HARBOUR.

DREDGING COULD RELEASE THESE TOXIC HEAVY METALS INTO THE MARINE ECOSYSTEM, HARMING A WIDE RANGE OF SEA LIFE, SAYS DR STIRNEMANN.”

Forest & BIrd


F&B is all about protecting mangroves, which encourage silt to build up, and they also argue that dredging could release toxic heavy metals into the marine system. F&B was wrong at Waiuku and they are quite likely wrong in the Coromandel too.

If the TCDC has spent 10 years in planning and studying their own back yard who is F&B to wade into this?

The proposed ferry service to operate from the new Coromandel marina would get cars off the road by offering travel by sea but the Greens take no account of this advantage for the Coromandel.

With the support of a handful of un-elected Greens, F&B will oppose anything and they are often succeeding, despite the facts not stacking up. They are nothing more than bullies who should be stopped in their tracks by withdrawing government funding.