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Forest and Bird to court over Buller mine

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/02/2017

Forest and Bird is going to court over a decision by Buller District Council to allow an open cast coal mine on 100ha of public reserve land near Westport.

It says Rangatira Developments Ltd's proposed mine would remove the top of an intact forested mountain, containing rare species and ecosystems.

Forest and Bird chief executive Kevin Hague says the mine would be clearly visible from Westport and the Lower Buller Gorge, a tourist highway and gateway to the West Coast.

"This ridgeline is one of the last remnants of the outstanding Buller plateau landscape," he said.

Mr Hague said the area was home to threatened bird and lizard species, including the great spotted Kiwi, the South Island fernbird and the West Coast green gecko,.

He said Forest and Bird believed the council, in granting access, had not acted legally under the Reserves Act, which required the water conservation reserve to be administered in a manner consistent with its purpose.

It has filed in the High Court at Christchurch for a judicial review of the council's decision.

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