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Thursday, April 23

Government Earth Day coal-mine criminal says greens party

The Green Party is outraged that Solid Energy has announced the start of coal-mining preparations in Happy Valley, describing it as a “kick in the guts” for the planet on Earth Day.

“Today, Earth Day 2009, will go down in New Zealand conservation history as the day when our Government failed the environment and the climate miserably,” Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei said today.

“This afternoon the Government’s own company began its first steps in the process of destroying a precious piece of Kiwi habitat in order to dig up coal to add to the world’s climate woes.”

State-owned coalminer Solid Energy today announced it has removed the tent camp that stood watch over the valley for three years, designated the valley a no-go zone, and began preparing to turn a beautiful and precious valley into an open-cast eyesore. The camp was unoccupied at the time.

“The National-led Government’s idea of celebrating Earth Day is to evict Great Spotted Kiwi from their home, and commit the planet to another 10 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions - it's criminal,” said Mrs Turei.

“This news is a “kick in the guts” for the Earth, and for all New Zealanders with an environmental conscience who have done their best to prevent this ecological crime.”

Happy Valley is a red tussock wetland surrounded by virgin native forest - it is home to endangered Great Spotted Kiwi, endemic snails, and has become a focus of conservation and climate change campaigning in New Zealand.