Threat to NZ Kaipara Harbour by Electricity Company

New Zealand Is Being Exploited: Protect Our New Zealand Environment

The beautiful Kaipara Harbour is in danger.  Julian Wilcox, on ‘Native Affairs’, Maori Television, N.Z.,  documented the  exploitation and plight of the Kaipara Harbour  on Monday night. An energy company has been given permission to build 200 underwater turbines in the Kaipara Harbour for the purpose of generating electricity.

This is surely an abuse against the environment, the iwi of the area, and the people of New Zealand generally.  Again, a select few will benefit from the enormous profits of this venture: And just why is all this extra power going to be generated here anyway?  We have enough power as it is to keep the country going, as long as it is used wisely.  Householders are not the biggest users of power, although electricity-saving campaigns lead us to believe that that is the case:  Industry uses more power than people in houses. Makes me think that the government has MORE plans to get overseas industry here, to sell them cheap power for their enterprises at the expense of our environment. OR somehow sell this power overseas.  Either way, the people of New Zealand will not benefit.  The select few ‘in on the deal’ will be the winners, as well as their overseas partners. And who owns this electricity company anyway?  You can bet your bottom dollar it is not totally New Zealand owned. Which means more profit going off-shore.

Maori, who have lived and fished here for hundreds of years, will find it hard to earn a living from the sea, or to provide fish for the whanau, as the waters will become polluted. The Kaipara Harbour is already in danger of silting up, so any industrial activity which might add to the silting should definitely not be allowed, for the sake of the environment and the birds and fish which breed there.  The Kaipara Harbour is supposed to be the most prolific of breeding grounds for schnapper, as well as other fish: The effect of the turbines will be a lot like the effect of a jet boat, I should imagine, which deters fish and affects their breeding.

A spokesman for the iwi of the area said  “And what about the clean-up?  Who is going to clean the mess up when things start to go wrong?” This man said that they, the people of the Kaipara Harbour, will be left with the mess, and their environment, their fishing fields, destroyed.  He pointed out that a party of people came to question them about putting some turbines there.  But these people declined to say how big the project would be, that 200 underwater turbines would be built there over several years.  “If it was just two or three, then you wouldn’t worry.  But 200……This is going to have a huge impact on the environment.”  This man mentioned that once the programme had been started at the Kaipara Harbour, it would only be a matter of time before the other harbours, such as the Hokianga, would be exploited also.

The other thing which is particularly mean about the whole idea, is that Maori from the area will not benefit at all, and nor will the average New Zealander. Footage was shown of the sleek, white, fat-cats coming out of their meeting with some government body which had decided they should be allowed to continue. They looked very smug and satisfied with their success.  These are the people who will benefit.  It is wrong that profits like theirs, which come essentially from depriving people of food and a healthy life-style, and destroying an environment, should fall into the hands of a select few anyway.  But that is an argument we do not wish to follow up, as no amount of compensation is going to make up for the loss of a productive and beautiful harbour, its birds, its fish, and its communities which rely on it.

I thought that the tribute at the end of ‘Native Affairs’ to the lately passed ‘Whetu’ Sullivan  was truly beautiful. Her brother spoke so warmly of her.  Much love and affection had gone into the choosing of the archival material. The tribute ended with a beautiful, sensitive, closing shot of this remarkable woman smiling at us.

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