• Ban marine dumping of dredged material
    Aotea Great Barrier Island is surrounded on all sides by the pristine waters of the Hauraki gulf and the Pacific ocean. For a decade local residents and iwi have challenged a plan by a private company Coastal Resources Limited that wanted to unload 140 barge-loads annually of contaminated sludge dredged from the sea floor off the coast of their island for the next 35 years. Sadly the traditional hāpuka grounds have already been destroyed by previous dumping of sediment. Allowing massive marine sludge dumping is unacceptable. Protect Aotea went to court to appeal the decision to give the consent - and we won! In December 2019, our High Court appeal against the granting of consent by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Coastal Resources Limited (CRL) to dump 250,000 cubic metres of marine sludge off the coast of Aotea Great Barrier Island was successful - effectively quashing the decision of the EPA. Kelly Klink, of Protect Aotea, says, “While we are relieved to have won the court case to prevent CRL’s appalling dumping of toxic waste sludge into our pristine marine environment, we are deeply concerned and unhappy about the extremely destructive ongoing practice of waste dumping within the RMA and Exclusive Economic Zone.” “We are determined to ensure that new, environmentally sound policies are urgently put in place to ensure that less damaging alternatives to marine dumping are deployed – such as proper disposal of waste on land or engaging the process of mudcrete.” “We are concerned that there is currently no meaningful consideration of alternative methods of disposal of the dredged material, rather the waste is dumped directly into our precious moana. This cannot be allowed to continue.” We are uniting again to stop the marine dumping of dredged waste happening to other communities in Aotearoa. We call on the Government to change the law that will ban this harmful method of dumping waste and enforce alternative methods. All policy and law-making should acknowledge a tikanga Māori approach to achieving well being for our moana. Such a policy will enable local hapū and iwi to properly manage and care for the taonga species that depend on a healthy marine environment to survive; which is intrinsic to the Government’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligation to Māori to ensure traditional fishing grounds are protected for generations to come. We call on the New Zealand government to respect the mana and will of the tangata whenua and help protect the health and wellbeing of our oceans through our laws. With legal protection tangata whenua and the community will reconnect with the moana and implement a tikanga Māori approach to achieving well being for our still-pristine coastlines. Add your name to ban marine dumping of dredged material in any part of beautiful Aotearoa. *** Great Barrier residents win reprieve over dredged waste increase, Dec 2019 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12290755 More than 200 people marched up Auckland's Queen Street, June 2019 https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1356765834504795 March to Protect Aotea, Great Barrier Island, June 2019 http://www.ngatiwai.iwi.nz/our-stories/march-to-protect-aotea-great-barrier-island Large scale marine dumping near Great Barrier concerning, July 2019 https://www.miragenews.com/large-scale-marine-dumping-near-great-barrier-concerning
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  • Save Pakiri Beach From Sand Mining
    Sand mined from Pakiri Beach is irreplaceable... Yet it is the site of the largest single nearshore sand mining activity in the developed world. No other developed country allows nearshore sand mining – we need your help to stop this madness and take back control of this precious resource, which sustains this beautiful coastline. Sand miner McCallum Brothers (Clevedon Coast Oysters) are seeking to renew their consents to mine vast quantities of sand from the waters off Pakiri Beach and Mangawhai. There are other sustainable sources of sand, but they insist on taking Pakiri’s when all of the other miners have moved to other areas with sustainable sand resources. For this we urgently need your support - please sign and share the petition to say no now! What is sand mining? Sand mining involves extracting sand from the sea floor. Sand mining literally sucks the life out of our sea bed floor, destroying everything in its path and leaving 16km length of dust plumes in its place. With less sand making it onshore, it also causes erosion to dunes and foreshores. How much is being taken? The Dredging has been exercised by four vessels, sometimes operating all at once, working day and night and on public holidays. There are hundreds of dredges per annum. As a sign of their plans a new dredger vessel has been delivered, of double the holding capacity. This is the largest single nearshore dredging activity in the developed world, and these are amongst the largest offshore extraction volumes in the world. It is astonishing to think that even though there are other sustainable sources of sand elsewhere, Pakiri Beach’s sand is mined. Pakiri has paid its dues; it has replenished Auckland’s beaches and provided the raw material for much of Auckland’s development and has endured nearly 100 years of continuous extraction, the longest continuous industrial activity in NZ. Pakiri Beach is a natural treasure. We must protect its glistening white sand, miraculous dunes, precious ecosystems and the rare species that make it their home. We must preserve it for generations to come. Why is it so urgent we stop mining now? - Our sea beds are eroding at rapid rates in the face of rapid sea rises; to remove more sand is reckless. - There is a finite supply of Pakiri Beach’s sand and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever - Pakiri Beach is home to the Fairy Tern, New Zealand's rarest bird of which there are only 40 left - There are other non-erosionary sources of sand, so it’s not necessary to mine Pakiri Beach - Sand mining creates dead zones, killing every living thing in the process on the sea bed - The sea bed community is appreciated as ever more important. - Dredging releases carbon stores ("blue carbon"); it is out of step with these times - Science is revealing new effects; underwater noise pollution and sedimentation plume affects water quality - The dredging is by NZ’s oldest marine reserve, with two new Auckland Reserves are at either end of the beach. Can there be a less appropriate place for dredging? - Erosion to dunes is highly likely, the only question is timing - Locals see changes already (to the mid and rear dunes); exotics are choking the former shifting sands - Seeing what the McCallum’s have done to where they operate eg Karamuramu Island; what hope is there for Pakiri? - NZ is going against the position of the rest of the World. In Norfolk, UK, a 2 million cubic meter sand dune is being created, to guard against future erosion. This is the minimum amount that they wish to extract from Pakiri. The position could not be more different. - In a Year 13 UK geography curriculum text book, Pakiri sand mining is a Case Study of environmental mismanagement. NZ’s Green reputation is being diminished internationally by the dredging at Pakiri. We now live in an era of environmental awareness. Single use plastics bags have been banned, we all now think about and mitigate our environmental impact in everything we do. So why in this environmental era, in Green NZ of all places, allow permits to mine sand, in an intensive, primitive way from precious beaches like Pakiri, when there are alternate sustainable sources? We’re facing more flooding and erosion due to climate change, so sand mining is the last thing we should be doing. Join us in saying 'no' to sand mining. Sign and share the petition and make a difference. To learn more about Friends of Pakiri Beach and how you can support our cause please visit: https://friendsofpakiribeach.org.nz/ (Fairy Tern Photograph provided courtesy of Jason Moore)
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  • Keep the Wakatipu Ferry on the water
    We have a very effective commercial ferry service operation on Lake Wakatipu which is well patronised by locals and visitors alike. As a resident of Kelvin Peninsula, I regularly use the service when heading to the centre of Queenstown. However it cannot continue without a similar subsidy to that which the $2 buses get. The service is scheduled to be shut down at the end of February 2020 to the dismay of the local users: https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/queenstown/lake-ferry-service-wind. Once shut down it will be difficult to resume operation. The Queenstown Lakes Region is facing increasing road congestion caused by exponential growth in local and visitor traffic. Queenstown Lakes District Council, the NZ Transport Agency and the Otago Regional Council have done a great job in moving residents to bus services with a subsidised service which as well as getting cars off the roads, has the added benefit of climate change mitigation. Water transport is potentially one of the most efficient and climate friendly means of transport for the Wakatipu basin. No roading infrastructure required and currently existing jetties are utilised. Plus the ferry is a really beautiful way to travel. As with all public transport, the ferry service must be reliable, frequent and reasonably priced to encourage use. We have a local commercial operator providing an excellent service for a year now but it is not cost effective for them. Queenstown Lakes District Council, the NZ Transport Agency and the Otago Regional Council recognise this but are slow in implementing a long term plan. Allowing an existing ferry service to fail through bureaucratic inertia would do the community a huge disservice and set back the momentum for positive change. As Chair of the Kelvin Peninsula Community Association, I urge the ORC to respond swiftly to this public transport need.
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  • Fight for Te Rotorua nui a Kahumatamomoe (Lake Rotorua)
    * Lake Rotorua is a taonga as are all the waterways connected to it #TAONGAnotTOILET * Many communities and families still source food from the lake * Serious contaminants will still exist in the treated sewage when it is discharged into the stream that flows into the lake * No lake in Rotorua will be safe if this discharge happens * We must leave a legacy of clean water and air for our mokopuna, Rotorua and Aotearoa * Getting the lake the same legal recognition as a person, will make it more difficult for groups to purposely pollute and disrespect it Te Arawa Lakes Trust says no to treated wastewater in Lake Rotorua, NZ Herald, 4 Dec 2018 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12170331
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  • Dear ECan, please say no to the waste pipeline into our ocean
    Our wild oceans are places of beauty, the living spaces for countless animal species, and our places of recreation. The Pacific Ocean is not a dumping ground. A South Canterbury-based dairy company is applying for permission to build a 7.5 kilometre-long pipeline to discharge up to 10 million litres per day of wastewater into the Pacific Ocean just south of Timaru. No business should be making profits at the expense of harm to Papatūānuku. Waste systems should be designed within the business and not externalised into the environment. The proposed pipeline would take waste into an area proposed as a protected marine reserve. The South East Marine Protected Area (SEMPA) will stretch from Timaru to Southland and aims to protect the habitat of Hoiho (yellow eyed penguin – threatened, nationally endangered), kororā (little penguin – at risk, declining) and Hectors Dolphin (nationally vulnerable). We ask ECan to reject this proposal and suggest Oceania Dairy uses the latest technology and best environmental practices to treat its waste on site. You can also make a personal submission to ECan here: https://www.ecan.govt.nz/do-it-online/resource-consents/notifications-and-submissions/notified-consents/oceania-dairy-limited/ https://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/117493826/oceania-dairy-wants-to-discharge-10-million-litres-a-day-of-treated-wastewater-into-pacific-ocean https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/388982/new-zealand-government-announces-marine-protection-plan-for-coast-of-south-island Photo: Paul Kennedy
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  • Formalise cross-party partnership to protect children from further climate breakdown.
    We are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, wider whanau and people who care about the world our children and all children will grow into. Every signature on this letter sends the strong message: co-operative politics over adversarial to keep moving progress forward on climate mitigation. We need this Memorandum of Understanding to allow the political leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand to commit to work together to protect younger generations from the worst effects of climate breakdown. To help our Parliament form strong binding policies and develop trust with all New Zealanders that successive governments will continue to progress climate mitigation and reducing our emissions to net zero without delay. To enable our political leaders to create a different vision for upcoming generations and ensure New Zealand continues to be a world leader in positive change. Our country has a history of stepping up and doing what is needed and inspiring other countries by our example, and we hope that will continue. Thank you, Alicia Hall and Millions of Mothers Please find Our Why and Full Letter here: https://www.millionsofmothers.org/post/calling-for-formal-cross-party-partnership-to-protect-children-from-further-climate-breakdown
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  • Aviation Eco-Tax to offset climate impact of flying
    Although aviation only accounts for about four percent of all warming activity, it is growing at a rate of five percent each year. This means it is on track to double in 15 years as people in poorer countries become accustomed to the kind of lifestyles westerners have been enjoying for decades. People living in New Zealand are among the worst offenders for greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. There are no currently-viable technologies that can enable people to fly without adversely affecting the climate. In New Zealand the cost of taking a bus or train is very high relative to flying. Flying is so cheap there is no incentive to travel by means which emit less CO2. In Sweden the amount added is very moderate, ranging from $10 to around $60. If you can afford to buy a ticket, you can also afford to pay the tax. Despite the fact that the amount is so small, the effect in Sweden has been very positive, with a decline in flight passengers and rapid growth in train ridership. There has been a significant shift in attitudes and these are outcomes we need in New Zealand as well. Each of you holds a portfolio which will either be impacted by climate de-stabilisation, or is directly linked to taxing aviation. Please bring in an Aviation Tax now.
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  • Fix Wairau Estuary & Milford Beach
    North Shore beaches are the pride of Auckland and are of world renown. Wairau Estuary and Milford Beach are a regional resource. Large numbers of visitors from South and West Auckland enjoy them throughout summer. Yet Wairau Estuary is one of the most heavily contaminated waterways in Auckland. The contamination includes silt (that chokes seafloor life), human faecal contamination, heavy metals and hydrocarbons. Wairau Outlet has a permanent no swim warning. The only one north of the Harbour Bridge. There is human sewage in the Wairau Estuary. This contaminates Milford Beach. Heavy metals and hydrocarbons in the Estuary are carried with silt onto Milford and Castor Bay Beaches. High levels of Zinc, Lead, Copper, Cadmium, Chromium and Arsenic are present. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons cause cancer and are found in the sediment of Milford Beach in moderately elevated (amber zone) quantities. There is a total ban on gathering shellfish off the Wairau Outlet, because they contain human faecal matter. Council puts a red no swim advisory on any beach when 2 in every 100 swimmers are likely to get sick. Swimming illness is usually mild; it takes the form of a “cold”, ear infection or sinus infection. Or a “tummy bug”, with diarrhoea or vomiting. Most people view swimming as healthy and mistakenly blame other factors for their illness. Children are at highest risk from swimming, because they play in the shallows where the faecal bugs concentrate. The Wairau Estuary is special to Milford & Castor Bay. There is nothing similar on other North Shore beaches. It should be a jewel in the crown; a place that people & wildlife seek out rather than avoid because it is stinky & toxic. In addition to its own unique features, it can be a connection between Lake Pupuke, Sylvan Park, Milford & Castor Bay Beach. Sign our petition for a cleaner, safer Milford Beach and Wairau Estuary.
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  • Save the Christchurch Central City black-billed gull colony from future destruction
    For many years, the most critically endangered gull on the planet, the Black-billed Gull, has struggled to find a suitable site for breeding, due to flooding and predation. However, over the past two years a breeding colony of around 300 birds has established in the Christchurch Central Business District in the flooded foundations of a demolished building in Armagh Street. While the gulls themselves are protected by legislation, the site is not, and as soon as their nesting site is abandoned for the season the landowner can modify the site, preventing it's future use as a nesting site. For too long, we have been putting human interests before that of the planet and our collective survival, resulting in a polluted planet where no organisms can escape the impact of human activities. We believe that the preservation of endangered life on earth is more important, and that building development should not further endanger an already endangered species. More information on the Black-billed gull is available here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/99498678/the-worlds-rarest-gull-calls-new-zealand-home-but-most-kiwis-dont-know-it
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  • Save NZ Dolphins
    Māui dolphins are on the brink of extinction and Hector’s dolphins are heading towards a similar fate if nothing changes. These dolphins are taonga and native to New Zealand, they’re not found anywhere else in the world. The single greatest threat to Māui and Hector’s dolphins is fishing nets. There used to be around 50,000 Hector’s but now, because of destructive fishing methods, not many more than 10,000 remain. For the critically endangered Māui, it’s even worse. In the 1970s there were around 2,000, now there are fewer than 60 left. If we don’t act now we risk losing New Zealand dolphins forever. We need to save them, and we hope you will help us! Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), has been working in New Zealand behind-the-scenes for years gathering evidence and garnering political and public support. Now it’s time for all of us to raise our voices and be heard. Around 110 to 150 New Zealand dolphins die in set nets every year and a similar number in trawls. Set nets are sometimes referred to as ‘walls of death’. They hang in the water, anchored to the sea bed with weights and are stretched across the surface with floats. They are indiscriminate, catching every creature that swims into them. Trawl nets are dragged through the water by boats and, like the set nets, scoop up whatever and whoever is in their path. Right now Hector’s and Māui dolphins are protected from set nets in just 30% of their habitat and from trawl nets in less than 10%. But, here’s the great news – if we band together we can protect them and we could save the species. Are you with us? The New Zealand government is currently working on what’s called a Threat Management Plan for these dolphins – this plan outlines what the government intends to do to look after the dolphins. However the plan is woefully inadequate; the government proposals will allow at least 50 dolphins to die every year in fishing nets. This is unacceptable! See the plan here: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/34971. We’re urging Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to remove these dangerous nets from the dolphins’ home. We’re calling for the New Zealand government to transition our country away from destructive fishing methods, and immediately phase out set net and trawl fishing within the dolphins’ habitat, to the 100 metre depth contour, around the whole coast of the country. The government must also consult relevant local iwi about implementing a phase out of trawling and set nets in line with the obligations of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This is our chance to show the government how much we love these dolphins. They are taonga and deserve to survive and thrive. Sign our petition to send the Prime Minister a message and help us save them! What you can do: - Write to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, using the automatic form on our petition page - Like and share our Facebook/Instagram pages https://www.facebook.com/whalesorgnz/ https://www.instagram.com/wdc_nz/ - Post on social media about NZ dolphins and share it with us using the hashtag #SaveNZDolphins https://vimeo.com/385897570
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  • Regeneration not Incineration - for a Zero Waste Aotearoa
    WE’RE GOING CIRCULAR Right now, we are seriously challenging our planet’s ability to sustain life. People everywhere are looking for ways to preserve valuable resources and prevent pollution while creating jobs and invigorating a zero waste circular economy. Incinerators undermine these goals because they’re part of an outdated linear system that forces us to continually extract new resources only to destroy them after we’ve used them for just a short while. Our future lies in replacing these destructive technologies with regenerative systems. INCINERATORS POLLUTE OUR AIR While it’s true that today’s incinerators are cleaner than older models, they’re still not perfect. Modern incinerators still release toxic chemicals that include dioxins [4], mercury [5] and cadmium [6] – substances that cause cancer, nerve damage and birth defects. Anyone who lives downwind from an incinerator is in danger of breathing in these dangerous chemicals and suffering the health consequences. [7] Toxins released into the air fall back onto the land to be absorbed by plants and eaten by livestock eventually finding their way into our bodies, via our food, causing further sickness and disease. [8] But the worst part about these toxins is that many don’t break down with some persisting in their toxic state in the environment for decades. [9] INCINERATORS POLLUTE OUR LAND Up to 25% of waste that’s burnt falls to the bottom of an incinerator to become incinerator bottom ash (IBA). This extremely toxic material is mostly dumped in special hazardous waste landfills, but in some countries it’s also used in roading and construction and sometimes spread on land as fertiliser. [10] Researchers are now raising serious concerns about the dangers of IBA with numerous studies [11] showing the detrimental effects of this highly toxic material. These problems are compounded by disposal of smokestack filters that capture highly toxic fly ash. These filters are disposed of in hazardous waste landfills along with IBA where they contribute to the toxic load in the landfills. INCINERATORS POLLUTE OUR FRESHWATER AND MARINE ENVIRONMENTS Incinerator toxins falling back to land are regularly washed into waterways where they combine with leachate from hazardous waste landfills. These contaminants poison fish and other aquatic life as they flow through our streams and rivers into our harbours and eventually into our oceans. These toxins have the potential to enter our food chain at every stage of their journey to the sea. INCINERATORS RELEASE GREENHOUSE GASES While toxins emitted from incinerator smokestacks cause immediate health concerns, most of the exhaust gas is carbon dioxide, which has long term effects on our climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that each tonne of waste burnt produces up to 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide [12] which can stay in our atmosphere contributing to global warming for decades. Throughout the world, we’re looking for ways to urgently reduce our climate change emissions. Waste-to-energy incinerators work in direct competition with this goal. Incinerators contravene our climate change commitments as signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Climate Agreement, and Agenda 2030. And, they directly contradict support for our Pacific partners through endorsement and support for the Kainaki II Declaration (which declares a climate crisis in the Pacific region) and, our signed commitment to the Boe Declaration on Pacific security. INCINERATORS ARE INEFFICIENT While incineration companies are happy to point out that the waste they burn would otherwise be sent to landfill, they don’t mention that household waste is a substandard fuel. The World Energy Council found that, kilogram for kilogram, waste produces less than one-third the energy of coal and up to one-sixth the energy of natural gas while producing many times the amount of pollution. [13] Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we currently produce 80% of our electricity from renewable sources. And, we have a plan to increase that to 100% by 2035. [14] Waste-to-energy incinerators compete with our renewable energy goals and undermine our commitment to a low emissions economy. INCINERATORS DESTROY VALUABLE RESOURCES Our society is fast becoming aware than our finite planet does not have an unending supply of natural resources. At the same time, we’re learning the importance of protecting and recirculating our resources. Governments, businesses and communities everywhere are looking for better ways to encourage people to refuse, reduce, redesign, reuse, repair, refurbish and recycle the things we use to make sure our resources are not destroyed. Incinerators work in direct conflict with these zero waste objectives. INCINERATORS DESTROY JOBS A key selling point used by incinerator companies is that they create jobs. Disputing this argument, the EU social enterprise reuse, repair, and recycling group, RREUSE, recently found that for every job that the incineration industry might create, recycling centres create 36 jobs and reuse activities create 296 jobs. [15] Materials recovery and recycling services are set to become a rapidly growing sector in the country as our society moves towards a post-waste circular economy. Incineration undermines this plan. INCINERATORS DESTROY ZERO WASTE EFFORTS While we accept that waste is a problem, we know that incinerators aren’t the answer. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we can address our waste issues in regenerative ways that preserve rather than destroy valuable resources, prevent pollution, produce sustainable and innovative products and material systems, create jobs, and invigorate a zero waste circular economy. To help achieve this goal, we hope you will join us in opposing waste-to-energy incinerators in Aotearoa New Zealand. Footnotes: https://tinyurl.com/y5chaw5k
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  • Support the Lets Get Wellington Riding Vision
    We're seeing electric bikes and scooters sales grow at 100% year on year, and we've seen an increase in commute cycling of 25-40% across the city in the last year. They're often the fastest and cheapest ways around the city. We should be doing everything we can to support them. These new vehicles need safe space to operate on the road. The current plans for cycleways were developed before the explosion in these new types of vehicles. As such, it's no longer fit for purpose. We’ve designed the Let's Get Welly Riding Vision for Wellingtonians to take and run with (or ride, as the case may be). We hope you are inspired and join us in making Welly the best place in the world to live!
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