New Plymouth District Council investing in Tasmanian forest destruction

On Monday, 18th March 2014, mTaranaki Big Changed 2 smallembers of Climate Justice Taranaki spoke at the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) meeting.

We are extremely concerned about plans to destroy 1806 ha of native forest in Tasmania by a company controlled by the NPDC. The Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL) has more than 28,000 dairy cows and 25 dairy farms in Tasmania’s North-West. Tasman Farms Limited, a New Zealand Company, is the current majority shareholder of VDL, owning 98.42% of shares on issue. Tasman Farms Ltd is owned 100% by the NPDC.

“Dairy conversions on existing land” is a key vision on VDL.1 They are now getting close to having jumped all legal hurdles to destroy 1806 ha of native forest to make room for dairy cows. The area in question is the habitat of threatened species, including freshwater fish and crayfish, the tiger quoll, and the endangered Tasmanian Devil. Furthermore, forest clearing has severe consequences for our climate. Forests act as carbon sinks and climate controllers. Destroying forests releases carbon into the atmosphere, further contributing to the greenhouse effect and climate change. Removing forest also causes major soil erosion which ends up in waterways to smother aquatic life. Healthy soils and reefs are important carbon sinks too. We all know dairy farming is a major contributor to climate change and water pollution

Community activists in Tasmania have been fighting the large-scale deforestation of their forests for decades. It is irresponsible of the NPDC to invest rate payer funds into such environmentally harmful activities. New Zealand would not allow such native forest logging in our country, so why should the people of New Plymouth be saddled with such irresponsible and immoral investments?

This proposed logging in Tasmania might be legal but just as the investment in Apartheid South Africa was immoral, so is the profiting from large scale environmental destruction. We need to urgently develop ethical guidelines for the Taranaki Investment Management Limited (TIML) Investment Policy to ensure that public money is not used irresponsibly.

We demand:

  • a halt to the expansion of the Van Diemen’s Land Company dairy farms.
  • an immediate community discussion around what Perpetual Investment Fund investments are acceptable and to include an ethical investment charter in the TIML investment policy.

1806 ha – that’s about the size of the wedge you see on the map of Taranaki above. We wouldn’t allow for this to happen here. Let’s ensure that we don’t do this somewhere else either!

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One Response to New Plymouth District Council investing in Tasmanian forest destruction

  1. […] of this network is that it has also brought enormous destruction to our fields and forests. With forest destruction comes increased human development and ecological degradation. Recent mapping and modeling has been […]

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