Media Release

Forest & Bird is calling for rivers to be allowed to flood and people living near them funded to move away while refusing to support a much simpler, less expensive option, says a quarry industry leader.

Newshub last night reported some Hawke’s Bay people are frustrated their regional council isn’t allowing the removal of sufficient river shingle to reduce flooding, while not taking out willows and wilding pines on flood plains.

Forest & Bird’s freshwater advocate, Tom Kay, said rivers need more room to flood, people living behind stop-banks had a false sense of security and ultimately councils should be moving people away from rivers.

Aggregate and Quarry Association CEO Wayne Scott says Forest & Bird often opposes gravel extraction on the basis that flora and fauna can be affected.

“Actually, they get hit too when the floods come – and reducing gravel levels in rivers is one sure fire way to allow the river more space to allow swollen waters to pass safely to the sea without taking out stop banks or farmland.”

Wayne Scott says it must be galling for Hawke’s Bay communities to be hearing Forest & Bird repeat its suggestion for rivers to be allowed back on old flood plains when these have often become the properties and livelihoods of residents.

“I’d suggest Forest & Bird stop suggesting the Government stump up half a billion dollars to relocate people from floodplains and support more practical ways to reduce flood risk such as removing naturally regenerating shingle.”

He says it may be that some river and coastal communities do have to retreat due to climate change impacts but a first step is do all that is possible to protect them.

“Stop banks don’t always work but often they do, especially if they are supported by armour rock, which also comes from quarries.”

Forest & Bird also sometimes opposes resource consents for these quarries, says Wayne Scott.

“They’ve got to connect the dots. Quarried materials are part of the solution for climate change impacts, not part of the problem.”

Contact: Wayne Scott, CEO, Aggregate and Quarry Associate (AQA) 021 944 336