Godwits feed well
For several years I have been using the northwestern cycle path that goes out over the causeway beside the motorway. It’s great exercise, which is mainly why I do it, but in that time I’ve come to realise that there are a lot of different types of water bird that use the area too.
My most recent find was on a guided walk to Pollen Island, that flash of shingle and scrub that you may have seen from your car on your left as you come into the city. From there, at low tide at this time of year you can see thousands of godwits feeding on the crabs in the mudbanks exposed at low tide. It’s a serious business for them because they are about to set off on their annual migration to Siberia and Alaska.
What’s so special about Auckland that they chose to come here from the other side of the world instead of to some other equally muddy place? It’s because we have two harbours, with a three-hour time difference in their tides, so when the birds have finished feeding next to the city, they go to Manukau Harbour. Four feeds a day instead of two because they need to fatten up before their long journey.
Auckland is a great place, but for the godwits that flock here, the city doesn’t even exist. We should recognise the huge value our harbour has as a natural habitat and not allow pollution or human behaviour from the city to damage it.
This peak occurred four weeks after the initial appearance of plain packaging and has been prolonged.
Although the real gain stands to be that future generations aren’t exposed to tobacco industry branding. Whilst unbranding cigarette packs won’t stop everyone from smoking, it will give our kids one less reason to start.
The health select committee is now seeking public submissions on the Smokefree Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill.
The deadline for submissions is March 28. Submissions can be made in writing or via Parliament’s website.