INDEPENDENT NEWS

Urban Uninformed Ignore Rural Concerns

Published: Fri 22 Sep 2000 10:47 AM
Losing a chance to remove introduced Canada geese from the Wildlife schedule is a blow for farmers in much of the South Island high country, ACT Conservation Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.
Mr Eckhoff this week was unsuccessful in his bid to move an amendment to the Wildlife (Penalties) Bill, that would have seen the geese removed from the protection list.
He said losing the amendment was a victory for urban ignorance over rural concerns.
“As long as emotion over rules common-sense, this introduced species will continue to cause wide-spread damage to the environment, and place a huge financial burden on those farmers in areas where Canada geese have been allowed to breed to alarming numbers.
Mr Eckhoff said few people outside of rural communities have little idea of the havoc caused by the birds.
“They foul large areas of productive pasture land, rendering it useless for grazing stock. In some areas I would place Canada geese in the same category as rabbits,” he said.
Mr Eckhoff said apart from the damage caused to pastures, the geese were a danger to the general environment in the areas they inhabit, because of their “inefficient” digestive system.
“They produce a vast amount of foul waste that fails to breakdown and in turns pollutes vital water ways.
“By repeatedly ignoring the plight of rural communities, warm fuzzy urban lobby groups will continue to strike a blow against those farmers who are struggling to enhance the rural environment," Mr Eckhoff said.
ENDS
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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