Mokihinui River saved, renewable energy lostRichard Treadgold | May 24, 2012
What do the Greens want?
On the surface, this is an example of the extreme green position. Don’t touch the earth, don’t change it for any reason, never mind the benefits. Never mind that we have no other resources (there’s just the one planet, you know), but we can’t use these resources, because we’ll kill a few snails.
The Green Party is crowing about this victory, which is fair enough, but it says all rivers should be protected. This is wrong. The Mokihinui might have special qualities that deserve protection, but it would be anti-human to deny access to all rivers.
People of the Green Party should hear this. Snails don’t matter; on the other hand, we and our children do matter. The Greens have been advocating the use of only renewable sources of energy for many, many years. So why do they oppose hydro generation — the most renewable of renewables?
Yes, we must drown a valley, but Nature does the same after every ice age — on a giant scale. Yes, a giant snail might die, or even become extinct — then you can be a hero: save the snail — but don’t deprive the country of a good energy source. Why would you? What do you want?
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 | Press Release
The Green Party is today welcoming the news that Meridian Energy is pulling out of plans to dam the Mokihinui river.
The campaign to save the Mokihinui has been running since 2007. Meridian’s proposal would have resulted in the inundation of conservation land destroying 300 hectares of irreplaceable river gorge habitat for kiwi, blue duck, kaka, falcons, giant land snails, native bats, and the long-finned eels that live along the Mokihinui.
“New Zealanders love our wild rivers and want them protected. This is a great day for all New Zealanders,” said Green Party Coleader Dr Russel Norman…
“Given that potential for a dam was a major factor for its exclusion from Kahurangi National Park, the Government can now take this opportunity to include the Mokihinui River in Kahurangi National Park…
“The dam would have caused irreplaceable losses of our treasured native species,” said Dr Norman.
The project would destroy 300 hectares of native habitat from over 13 MILLION hectares nationally, so what’s the problem? You could take some of the wildlife and settle them elsewhere, although the tiny loss of populations would scarcely matter.
Sure, we love our wild rivers and we want them in good condition. But there are many of them and if we want a secure, renewable energy supply, we have to make some sacrifices.
I suggest we don’t include this river in the Kahurangi National Park, as Dr Norman suggests, because it’s obviously a suitable site for a hydro station. Our population will continue to increase (assuming we don’t all end up in Australia) and if we later decide we need the hydro generation after all, we would face extra hurdles in building it.
It’s taken Meridian five years of battling the ecomentalists to eventually abandon this power project. Imagine how long a battle it would be if the land were part of a national park! And what a supreme waste of money. The cost to Meridian will be made up through increased power prices to poor people. Welcome to New Zealand.
As to irreplaceable losses of “treasured” native species, that’s a fraud, Norman. Unless this is the only valley in which they live, no species will be lost. Anyway, we’re quite capable of farming these creatures. Then we could release them into as many valleys as we like. There’s no need for a shortage, Russell.
If they’re rare, why are they rare? Because they failed to adapt. We should let them extinguish themselves — that would be the natural course — but no, the Greens must save them. It’s cold-bloodedly criminal that they’ll intervene for a failing species of invertebrate but tell fellow human beings to keep their hands off resources they need and risk their own extinction. What perverted, distant, barbarous logic.
Greens say they want to save the earth, not for us but, ironically, for itself. I say the earth doesn’t need saving, it’s fine — but it could do with a lot more care. We need to take the necessary resources while taking good care.
Turning that around: we should care for the earth to secure the nourishment and betterment of humanity. Now there’s a cause!