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It is time the Brook Valley Community Group accepted the multiple court rulings in favour of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary and stopped its disruption to this critical Nelson environment project following today’s Court of Appeal decision, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The opposition from the Community Group has become farcical. Their argument has been rejected by the High Court twice and now by the Court of Appeal. These legal proceedings have cost the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust and the taxpayer tens of thousands of dollars. It is time for the Sanctuary Trust to be able to get on with the job of creating this haven for our region’s native wildlife,” Dr Smith says.

“It is unacceptable that the voluntary work of thousands of people and the donations of millions of dollars that has gone into the sanctuary is being put at risk by people who are prepared to sabotage this community project. The Community Group needs to take some responsibility for this vandalism because of the extreme language and misinformation they have spread about the sanctuary work.

“I recently spent a weekend door knocking in the Brook Valley and was amazed at the strength of support for the Sanctuary. The Community Group is not representative of the community and is getting its strongest support from anti-1080 campaigners from outside the valley and beyond the Nelson region. The opportunity to eradicate 100 per cent of pests from the 715ha sanctuary is a challenging enough task without these ongoing court challenges interrupting the programme and threats of disruption at the site.

“The Zealandia Sanctuary in Wellington is proof that these pest control operations can be safely achieved with enormous benefits. The Nelson community can also have confidence that the operation can be conducted quite safely given the multiple decisions of the court rejecting opponent claims. This is a simple choice between whether we want stoats, rats and possums or kiwi, kaka and tui in Nelson’s backyard.”

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