God­wits feed well

Auckland City Harbour News - - OPINION -

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.

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