A very successful protest rally at Parliament today brought it home to the Government that there is serious, committed and organised opposition to their proposals to take Schedule 4 lands off the Department of Conservation Protection list.

Forest and Bird, Greenpeace, both the Green Party and Labour MP’s, The Coromandel Watchdogs, and environmental activists from many other smaller organisations were present to argue for restraint – and particularly, for John Key and Gerry Brownlie to be restrained, preferably by Minister for Conservation Kate Wilkinson, but if not so, then by the people of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Forest and Bird had a table going with leaflets and submission guides to help those who wished to make a submission on the Mining proposal. There were simple, instant submissions that people could sign on the spot, too.
For those who want more info, or to write a more personal submission, here are the links:
Forest and Bird quick submission form
Answer the Government’s questions online
Or you can send an e-mail to the Government about your thoughts on the Schedule 4 proposals, to schedule4(at)med.govt.nz
It’s suggested that comments sent be done as e-mail attachments.

There is a submission guide by Metiria Turei up on the Greens website, here.

And finally, some great shots of the protest were published on Scoop.

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Next Wednesday at 12.30pm, the NEZI primary teachers’ union is holding a rally at Parliament to present its petition opposing the government’s imposition of “national standards”.

The government’s proposal means essentially exams for children as young as five, on a narrow range of subjects, to the detriment of their broader education and development. More info is available at:
http://www.handsupforlearning.org.nz/

The teachers are at the forefront of the union opposition to this government.
Come along and give them your support!

Aboard the Steve Irwin

March 20, 2010

Thanks to the generosity of the Sea Shepherd crew there have been a whirlwind of great events around the city in the past 24 hours, beginning with an open-air forum at Parliament on Friday afternoon, ahead of the Steve Irwin docking at 5.30pm.

Today, I went for a stroll and took a young friend of mine to hear Captain Paul Watson speak at Chicago Bar, then we took the opportunity to take a tour of the Steve Irwin itself.

I’ve also had the priviledge to have visited the Rainbow Warrior II twice in my life, in 2002 and 2008, so I had a bit of a comparison going on in my head as I looked to see what an anti-whaling ship looks like.

It was great to see the safety gear, winches and small craft on the foredeck as we entered the ship; after a quick intro on the bow deck, we went up to the top of the ship and viewed the helicopter deck – one of the smallest helipads I’ve ever seen! Certainly made Helipro’s accommodations on the wharf beside us look very lavish.

Then it was down to the bow again, inside the ship to see the Bridge – again, bristling with safety gear, communications and navigation gear, just as you would expect from a ship sailing challenging international waters continuously. The feature that departs from most maritime standards is the discrete collection of inspirational art scattered around the bridge – images and representations of whales and dolphins, sculptures and even a special little carved wooden piece from the Dalai Llama.

Having heard about how the ship began with a substantial gift from a certain Bob Parker, after whom the ship was originally named and registered in London, we were told that the ship was re-named the Steve Irwin in recognition of the Australian wildlife conservator, who was also a significant benefactor of Sea Shepherd organisation – and advised that if anyone wished to make a substantial gift, they’d pretty happily name a ship after that person, too. Cue grins all round.

We then travelled down through the interior of the ship to the crew quarters, where a short video was shown in the mess room. I took the opportunity to have a quick look at the Galley, which is really well kitted-out to feed a crew of vegetarians who need solidly well-prepared meals to counter-act the rigors of antarctic campaigning. Everything was very well-organised and ‘ship-shape’, I can report. Our guide on the tour had already informed us that they have had one supply consignment of vegetables quarantined, so they’ve been using the galley a bit less than in usual while they’ve been in port.

If you are interested in supporting their efforts to get the Government to do something about whaling, or you’d like to see if you can help in any other way, you can contact the New Zealand Sea Shepherd supporters at info@seashepherd.org.nz

There’s the ubiquitous Facebook Group – “New Zealand Sea Shepherd” .
Also have a look at the new campaign on the Greens website, send John Key an e-card or a postcard – Take Your Head out of the Sand, John, You Can’t Save Whales by Killing Them. On the whaling page here

Captain Paul Watson speaking at Chicago Bar

Captain Paul Watson speaking at Chicago Bar


Banner for Pete Bethune

Banner for Pete Bethune


Crowds queueing to go onboard

Crowds queueing to go onboard


Crew mess onboard Steve Irwin

Crew mess onboard Steve Irwin


Crew lounge area

Crew lounge area


Crew lounge where video was shown

Crew lounge where video was shown

This is a message from the New Zealand Sea Shepherd group, to public and supporters:

We are 1000+ strong in New Zealand and growing rapidly, thanks to your efforts and the intensifying pressure on Japanese whalers to curtail their activities in the Southern Ocean Marine Sanctuary.

As a society with “conservation” in both our name and our charter, we have a deep concern for the devolution of the oceans and the extinction of many species of marine mammals and pelagic fish. We are living in a time of mass extinction; entire species are disappearing at an alarming rate. Nowhere is this happening faster than the oceans.

Sea Shepherd works for the overall good of the planet; we are a small organisation with a modest budget and operations worldwide. We have defended whales, dolphins, arp seals, bluefin tuna, sharks, turtles and other endangered marine life against poachers for more than thirty years.

We believe that John Key has misread the minds and hearts of New Zealanders in regards their relationship to the environment, and his proposal to reinstate commercial whaling after a 24- year moratorium is one example of the growing credibility gap between current government policies and the wishes of the New Zealand people. This is a values clash that cannot be negotiated.

Our response to this will be heard loud and clear this Friday 19th and Saturday 20th March in Wellington. Sea Shepherd’s founder Captain Paul Watson will be here Friday and Saturday; the Steve Irwin will arrive in port at Queen’s Wharf late Friday evening and be open to the public on Saturday, departing for the Galapagos Islands Saturday night. Here are the issues we will be addressing:

– Pete Bethune is going on trial in Japan when the real criminal, the Japanese skipper of the security vessel Shonan Maru No.2, who deliberately attacked and destroyed the Ady Gil, goes free in Japan. We will be showing our support for Pete, and inviting other organisations to join us.

– John Key’s flawed plan to resume commercial whaling goes on trial in the Court of New Zealand public opinion, with Labour’s Chris Carter leading the charge. If you haven’t signed the petition, take a minute and go to
http://carter.org.nz/?page_id=567.

– The Australian government has threatened to take Japan to an International Court in November over continued violations in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.
Our government has refused to back this move, although they claim to want closer relations with Australia. We will ask why they are ignoring an issue that has commercial and environmental implications for both countries.

-The 47 signatories to the Antarctic Treaty meet in the USA next month. We want to see an environmental pollution complaint against Japanese whaling interests on the meeting’s agenda.

– Glen Inwood’s role as spokesman for the whalers and in supplying dis-information to the New Zealand government and media will be revealed to the public, along with his connection to Japanese commercial interests in New Zealand.

Update

OFFICIAL SEA SHEPHERD NEW ZEALAND EVENT

Sea Shepherd is coming to town. Show your support for saving the beloved whales, endangered and yet still being hunted in the thousands, in a whale sanctuary – in our back yard.

Here is a list of events so far:

FRIDAY 19TH MARCH – MIDDAY TO 2pm
OPEN FORUM SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT WITH CAPTAIN PAUL WATSON AT THE PARLIAMENT GROUNDS (grass area) Wellington.

FRIDAY 5.30PM
– Powhiri traditional Maori Welcome for Captain Paul Watson and the crew
of the Sea Shepherd boat the “Steve Irwin” .
– The Steve Irwin Ship arrives into Queens Wharf (in front of Ferg’s Kayaks building). If you are a boat owner or know of someone that is, follow the Steve Irwin into port and lets give them the best kiwi welcome ever!!

SATURDAY 20TH MARCH – 10 AM
– Tours of the ship

SATURDAY 20TH MARCH – 11 AM TO 1 PM
– Hear Captain Paul Watson talk at the CHIGAGO BAR, Queens wharf.

SATURDAY EVENING 20TH MARCH
6-11pm Charity Concert in support of Pete Bethune at Sandwiches bar, corner of Courtenay Place and Kent Terrace, Wellington City.
FEATURING OUR AMAZING NZ MUSICIANS………
– Tiki Taane
– Rhombus Sound System
– Steel Burning
– Riki Gooch
– Sean Deans
AND SPECIAL GUESTS…
Tickets $25 each or 5 tickets for $100.
Pre-purchase tickets through the team at Sea Shepherd Wellington by contacting:
lisa@seashepherd.org.nz
Phone Lisa or Marcus on 027 286 8642, 021 144 9249 or 04 972 0240

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