Gnuffs taking their protest to capital

Save Fiordland petition timed for wearable art week in Wellington

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 05:00 01/10/2012
Gnome forest folk of Fiordland Claire Maley-Shaw, Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno and Mary Hill
BARRY HARCOURT/Fairfax NZ

GNUFFS ENOUGH: Gnome forest folk of Fiordland Claire Maley-Shaw, Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno and Mary Hill will ask Wellingtonians to sign a petition protesting against a proposed monorail and tunnel in Fiordland.

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Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno does not care if people thinks she looks foolish dressed up as a gnuff - so long as it helps promote the Save Fiordland campaign.

Mrs Cardno and two friends, all from the Save Fiordland group, will be dressed up as gnuffs (gnome forest folk of Fiordland) in Wellington's Lambton Quay on Thursday morning collecting signatures for a Save Fiordland petition.

The petition is in protest at the threat of a proposed multimillion-dollar monorail in Fiordland and the Milford Dart Tunnel.

Mrs Cardno brushed off suggestions it would look foolish for a mayor to dress up as a gnuff, saying it was wearable art week in Wellington and her aim was to get her point across.

"As a mayor you have to do many things. I am not only a mayor, I am passionate about our world heritage areas and I will dress up and go on protests or whatever to protect them. It's not about looking foolish, it's about standing up for your principles."

Mrs Cardno said wilderness areas were declining worldwide and they needed to be kept in their natural state.

However, Ross Cockburn, the Fiordland constituency Environment Southland councillor, said Mrs Cardno was not speaking for all of the region.

"I base that on a lot of people telling me they think the monorail is a good idea." Mr Cockburn, who stressed he was speaking as an individual, said foresight and courage was needed to allow Te Anau to expand.

"If we keep turning people down all the time we will end up with nothing in Te Anau."

He believed the monorail would be an added attraction to the area and bring business opportunities to Te Anau and its lake. He did not support the tunnel proposal - an 11.6-kilometre, $150 million commercial bus tunnel linking the Routeburn road and the Hollyford road, near Te Anau - because it would cause a lot of damage to the Hollyford valley and divert traffic off the main thoroughfare, he said.

The Conservation Department is expected to decide whether to proceed with the monorail and tunnel proposals before the end of the year.

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- The Southland Times

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