Taking a closer look – DOC review of huts and tracks – what does this mean for backcountry access?

DOC is reviewing huts and tracks – taking a closer look

DOC budget cuts, and the need to protect biodiversity such as kauri, kokako and frogs, are threatening back country recreation and access.

DOC is currently undertaking a review of its 985 backcountry huts and wants to know who is using them in order to justify maintaining them.  The key to ensuring their future is letting DOC know how valued they are as a means of accessing the New Zealand back and high country.   DOC is always looking for ways to trim its budget so if we want to preserve this wonderful aspect of New Zealand life we do need to speak up now.

How we balance the competing demands of recreational users and the need to preserve biodiversity will be debated at a Federation of Mountain Clubs workshop at Waitawheta Camp, at the northern end of the Kaimai Range, on Saturday 28 May.  50% of New Zealand’s population lives north of Lake Taupo – how will they still be able to enjoy access to our great outdoors?  Join in the debate and find out more here.

ECO executive: sounds like you?

The ECO Executive has made submissions in the last few weeks on the Resource Law Amendment Bill, the Marine Protected Areas review, the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty, the Te Kuha mine proposal, the Emissions Trading Scheme Review and the Mokau mine application.

All this requires work and dedication – which your Executive is committed to.  We do however need more members on our Executive and welcome applications from suitably qualified and interested people!  Could this be you?  Please consider if you would like to step forward and offer your skills and interest to the essential work of ECO – there is no other New Zealand environmental organisation doing what ECO does.  Email the office or call us on 04 385 7545 to discuss.

Choose Clean water – petition to be presented 29 March!

The Choose Clean Water Campaign now has over 10,000 signatures and is aiming for 15,000 before presenting it to Parliament on 29 March.

If you have not already signed the petition you can do so here.

Please come along to the petition presentation event on 29 March at 1pm at Parliament.  Please come and support the petition and the Freshwater team.

The Choose Clean Water team are volunteers who have worked for the love of freshwater, and need your help to cover the costs of printing, publicity materials and a mic and speakers for the presentation to parliament. This will be around $2000.

If you can spare a little (or a lot), it is all appreciated.
Go here to donate.

Mike Joy’s book Polluted Inheritance is available on Bridget Williams Books website as a BWB text.  In this 61-page book Mike demonstrates how the intensification of dairying has degraded our rivers, lakes and waterways to an alarming degree – risking the wellbeing of future generations.  This book will make you angry – and is an urgent call to action.

We know that our freshwater species are disappearing rapidly as the Society for Conservation Biology report last year revealed.

The government recently announced further funding for three more irrigation schemes for dairying in traditionally dry areas such as Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne – at a time when dairying is weak and has a dubious future.

Three Hawke’s Bay rivers are still out of bounds to the community because of silt spilling from the Waihi Dam. Erosion, farming and forestry are all causing regular damage to Hawke’s Bay rivers.  Maraetotara Lagoon has just been ruled out of bounds to swimming due to excessive faecal matter.

Still in Hawke’s Bay, Forest and Bird are appealing a decision by the High Court which approved DOC’s decision to downgrade and swap land in the Ruahine Forest Park to provide land needed for the Ruataniwha Dam.  Even if the dam does not proceed, the Judge’s decision sets a worrying precedent for the security of conservation land in New Zealand.