MP Scott Simpson supports Memorandum to save our birds

Monday, March 21, 2016

Miranda’s migratory godwits and red knot birds are safer today due to a new agreement signed between New Zealand and China says Coromandel MP Scott Simpson.

“It was a real privilege to be at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre for this important signing.”

The agreement between the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the State Forestry Administration (SFA) of China to protect wetlands in both countries used by migratory birds is very big step forward said Mr Simpson.

“This is a detailed agreement and follows the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed late last year by Chinese Ambassador Wang Lutong  and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry.”

The red knot and the bar-tailed godwit fly an incredible 12,000km migration route each way from New Zealand to China and beyond to their breeding grounds, before returning to New Zealand, a round trip of at least 24,000km, each year.

“The agreement ensures these remarkable little birds can continue their journeys” said Scott Simpson

The red knots breed in Siberia, the godwits in Alaska, and both species stop to feed at wetlands in China, before flying to their breeding sites.

The agreement allows for ongoing cooperation to protect and restore several wetlands used by the birds, including Pukorokoro-Miranda on the Firth of Thames. Thousands of red knots and godwits spend the summer at Pukorokoro-Miranda and then leave to begin their annual migration.

“Most importantly this agreement protects a seven kilometre stretch of coastal mudflat and salt ponds in Bohai Bay in China’s Hebei Province used by red knots, and a wetland in the Yalu Jian Nature Reserve near Dandong in Northern China, used by godwits. Those wetlands have been under extreme threat by rapid development. Lobbying by both Chinese and New Zealand officials has now saved the day” said Mr Simpson.

As well as DOC and the SFA, today’s signing has support from Ngati Paoa iwi, Pukorokoro-Miranda Naturalist Trust and Fonterra. “It is inspiring to see co-operation at so many levels to help these incredible birds on their journeys.”

“The Memorandum of Understanding could be deemed an insurance policy to guarantee these incredible birds will not just survive but flourish” said Scott Simpson.