RIGHT NOW, plans are underway that will devastate and permanently change the Ruahines ranges, including the Waitahora, Puketoi, and Tararua ranges. These plans will ravage the exceptional beauty of these untouched mountains, so much so that the blow to this pristine wilderness and loss of habitat for many native species of birds and animals will alter these peaks forever.
What are these plans?
Wind power. Wind power, which, on first glance, seems innocuous enough. But, as we speak, major changes are being made regarding the wording to the Policy on Environmental Heritage, of the Tararua District Council, from its current protective status to that which lets companies such as Genesis Energy, Trustpower, Meridian Energy, and Mighty River Power to forever and irreversibly alter the landscape of these ranges. As we speak, a policy that comes up for review once every ten years is literally being put up for debate to the citizens of New Zealand less than a month before it is to be closed for objection. We must act, and we must act quickly.
The Threats and Consequences of Wind Farming
Trustpower, Inc., maintains that wind farms contribute to the economic well being of the district and pushes to recognize the economic benefits of wind farms and the development and maintenance of generation facilities. But Trustpower does not recognize or address the four ranges and the protection of the skyline. Nor does Trustpower speak to the following facts:
- Entire species of birds are threatened, due to the (70 meter) blades of the wind towers.
- Probable erosion into creeks and springs would likely destroy fish and other aquatic life abiding in these waters.
- Plant species are in danger, due to the consequent widespread human presence, herbicides, manufacturing of roads, building sites and power lines, and windmill tower stands.
- Herbicides threaten all forms of wildlife, which would be used to keep roads, power lines, buildings, and tower surrounds free of re-growth, tree saplings, and other plant life.
- The introduction of non-native species that would inevitably be present on the wheels of the earth-moving machinery and other vehicles coming into this pristine environment from the outside world. This would introduce potentially invasive species of plants not native to the area, causing severe ecosystem damage and wiping out whole species of plants.
- The noise pollution from windmill blades, which would force wildlife to flee the area. Loss of habitat is one of the biggest destroyers of wildlife, not to mention that species of animals would move from their territories into other territories where both groups would have to compete for food and shelter.
- As of today we know of no environmental impact studies that have been done in this area in regards to the introduction of large scale wind farming in these mountains.
- The destruction of a pristine wilderness area is a stab to the heart of the earth, for people now, and for future generations. It is a part of the natural heritage of New Zealand, and, like a protected forest, or a work of art in a museum, we must work to preserve it. There are very few places on earth that remain as serene and wild. If policies such as this pass, soon there will be none left.
Solar Power as an Alternative
Solar power as an alternative source not only provides 50-75% of hot water, but also offers an inexpensive, hospitable, and beneficial form of power. The use of solar power as an alternative must be looked into further, in order to discern what is best in this particular region. The time frame that the companies have given to override the policies we are facing leaves little to no time for debate in this area.
No one knows how efficient the wind towers might be, and how many are needed to provide the necessary power to sustain the area. No one knows how much money consumers would ultimately have to spend, all the while gazing at a ruined landscape.
Please take a moment and read the petition below. And then sign. The Ruahine ranges are in your hands. Do the right thing, and save them from certain destruction.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul...
~ John Muir
I take offense to Trustpowers assumption that the people of New Zealand want wind power to proliferate on the Ruahines ranges. The existing policy must be stringently maintained and continue in perpetuity to uphold the environmental protection of this mountain range. The untouched beauty of these mountains is our heritage and our childrens heritage.
I say yes to continued research and exploration of substitute sources of energy, such as solar power, as viable and financially feasible alternatives.
I say no to the invariable destruction of these ranges, and no to Trustpower and the other wind companies, which propose to charge blindly ahead in changing existing policies in order to line their pockets. The Ruahines ranges are worth much more than a quick glance. Once devastated, they are irreplaceable. They are, indeed, priceless.