Forest & Bird backs calls to protect World Heritage Area

Forest & Bird today backed calls from the Save Fiordland group to stop the proposed tunnel and monorail projects which threaten the natural treasures of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area.

More than 250 people packed a public meeting in Te Anau on Tuesday night to launch the Save Fiordland campaign to stop the two projects.

A unanimous resolution called on the Minister of Tourism, John Key, and the Minister of Conservation, Kate Wilkinson, to decline both the Milford Dart tunnel proposal and a separate plan for a monorail, also in the World Heritage Area.

“The proposed monorail with its network of associated roads would destroy internationally significant mixed red, silver and mountain beech forest, which is home to critically threatened long tailed bats, red tussock grasslands and wetlands,” Forest & Bird’s Otago/Southland Field Officer Sue Maturin said.

“These were given special recognition in an eastern extension to Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area in 1990.”

Both proposals are contrary to legislation and management plans aimed at protecting our most precious landscapes and native wildlife and plants.
 
Forest & Bird Ambassador and eminent botanist Sir Alan Mark, who was involved in the Save Manapouri campaign in the late 1960s and early 1970s, said this large scale commercialisation of our world heritage area would damage one of our most treasured natural areas for the sake of unnecessary infrastructure.

“The local communities are as determined to stop the tunnel and mororail proposals as they were during the successful Save Manapouri campaign,” Sir Alan said.

Forest & Bird has opposed the granting of concessions by the Department of Conservation in submissions on both planned projects, one for a commercial bus tunnel linking the Hollyford and Routeburn valleys and another for a new route between Queenstown and Lake Te Anau, including a monorail in the Snowden Forest.

For more information on Forest & Bird’s opposition to the monorail proposal see our Say No to the Monorail video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hkHvlyNu28