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The Nelson Photo News



Forum and Aginum

The Rape of Manapouri

In the present controversy raging over the proposal to raise the level of Lake Manapouri, we are very definitely "For and Against". We support to the hilt the conservationists; we oppose, just as strongly, the politicians and other individuals who would see one of New Zealand's greatest beauty spots ravaged for the sake of the mighty dollar. We enlarge upon these views on our next page. The picture Above shows the lake in all its serenity (pic by National Publicity Studios) and (Below) a section of the public which attended a public meeting in Nelson to oppose any lake-raising proposal.

We have no intention here of getting involved in an argument over whose decision it was to raise the lake level (Labour or National); legal aspects of any contract either Government might have entered into with Comalco and the financial aspects of the project. Our concern over the proposal stems from the fact that here is another example of the willingness of a Government to sacrifice part of the heritage of every New Zealander. We are certain that if it was found impossible to raise the level of the lake to provide more power, the authorities would find alternative means of supplying the power. That being so, then why even consider the despoiling of a lake as beautiful as Manapouri? And there ARE alternatives. An increased capacity for the Marsden oil-fired station to its planned capacity of 600 megawatts is one. Even closer to home is the Upper Waitaki scheme, part of a big power development plan on which more than $200 million is to be spent in the next 15 years. Why can Government not expedite this project? If it did, there would be no need to touch Manapouri. There is also the vast new Taranaki gas reserve.

A Commission of Enquiry has been appointed to investigate the Manapouri project but the Government makes it clear that it is not required to act upon its findings. That being so, what use is such an inquiry if its findings can be disregarded if they do not fit into Government plans? We have already seen the Chatham Islands crayfishing grounds denuded because of the lack of a conservation plan. The country's deer population is dwindling so rapidly that by the time the big tourist boom hits New Zealand we will be unable to offer deer-hunting as an inducement to visit New Zealand.

Pioneers of this country have long been criticised for firing the bush and creating erosion. Let it not be said by future generations that our generation sacrificed it's heritage to financial interests.