Hamilton impresses Greens

RACHEL THOMAS
Last updated 10:40 08/08/2014

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Green MP Eugenie Sage says Hamilton is leading the country in terms of restoration projects, but the government needs to invest in biodiversity.

"We've got a biodiversity crisis in New Zealand. There's not enough funding for the Department of Conservation.

Sage visited Hamilton this week to see what's happening around the region and make an appearance at Horseshoe Lake, where a restoration project is being led by the Hamilton City Council in partnership with The University of Waikato.

"It's very impressive the way in which there's good science and ecology underpinning the restoration at Horseshoe Lake, and it's really beautiful."

She said under the National-led government, the country had seen "major restructuring of DOC" and "huge loss of technical expertise" on environment-related projects.

"DOC manages a third of New Zealand's land area as well as marine space on a budget equivalent to that of the Hamilton City Council," Sage said.

Horseshoe Lake is part of a section of Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park opposite Hamilton Zoo - which is New Zealand's largest inland restoration project.

The Lake's restoration project, which involved replanting or vegetation and a pest fish survey, is helping urban-dwellers experience nature in a city environment, she said.

"It's getting people to enjoy nature close to where they live."

The Green Party launched the Clean Rivers policy in Hamilton recently, which aims to make all New Zealand rivers safe enough to swim in.

"From a Green perspective, we need to prioritise biodiversity."

rachel.thomas@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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