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Concern at threat to wetlands and dunelands at QE Park

Report from Kapiti Independent
The Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park say precious wetlands and dunelands at the park are threatened by the Wellington Regional Council plan to allow intensive farming. The Friends want submissions lodged urgently to stop a new grazing licensee, and the use of herbicides and fertilisers to raise beef and sheep.

They say to members: “You have been a key part of our campaign to save the Raumati peat wetlands of the Kāpiti Coast’s Queen Elizabeth Park. We have had astounding success with 85 hectares of northern peat wetlands being retired from farming, rewetted and restored and with 50 hectares of dunelands being revegetated.”

“(But) the Greater Wellington Regional Council is now proposing to graze the remaining 208ha of wetlands and dunelands with no regard to the peat, the peat wetlands, the rare dunelands and their even rarer sand wetlands.”

Beef’s carbon threat

The Friends say: “Beef is the highest carbon-content meat by far and fertiliser emits one of the worst greenhouse gasses, nitrous oxide. It will also mean much of the park will again be off-limits to the public for another three years!

“The Friends would be grateful if you could now write a short submission to GWRC, with a deadline of October 1. We have written a list of suggestions but public consultation is about getting a range of opinions so all submissions will help.” They also say:

· Do not graze the dunes or wetlands of QEP.

· Do not allow a grazer to use herbicides or fertiliser

· Rewet and restore the wetlands of QEP instead

· The rare dunelands are precious and should not be grazed

We cannot use the park for recreation if we don’t have access. And there are parts of the park we have never been allowed to see. Covid-19 restrictions have shown us all how vital local green spaces are to community health and well-being.
Family group enjoys a break in one of the man picnic areas

And they make these additional points:

· Don’t graze cattle or use fertiliser. They are bad for climate change
· Other parks have large areas that are left to recover naturally. Do that for QEP
· Do not use poisonous herbicides as the park is surrounded by urban areas used extensively by the public
· The council’s own Parks Network Plan does not support grazing
·

“GWRC’s long-term plan is about using parks as climate sinks. How does that align with grazing peatlands?” ask the Friends.

Submissions should be sent to parksplanning@gw.govt.nz
Or you can log into Have your say Greater Wellington https://haveyoursay.gw.govt.nz/qep-grazing/survey_tools/submission-form-ideas1

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