Philanthropic? The marrying of that term and the banking industry in my opinion is somewhat of an oxymoron. Think about that…
A reader who, after recently hearing of the 6-helicopter tour of Fiordland by 30 bankers including the heads of Hong Kong Goldman Sachs and the Dept of Conservation, wrote to the Mayor of Southland District Council to get some clarification of its purpose. It is further confirmed that the group was indeed The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the reply is intriguing. One would have to ask, why wasn’t this headline news? An important visit by no less than thirty international bankers purveying their chosen area of shall we say ‘investment’ and not a squeak about it in mainstream media? Curious indeed.
Here is the letter sent and the response recently received (name of correspondent withheld as requested):
Dear Mr Tong,
I have been informed that:
“Six Squirrel helicopters were chartered from Alpine Helicopters, Wanaka. They only have five Squirrels so one was chartered in by them.
Apparently, Director-General of Conservation Lou Sanson, and presumably other DoC” people, “took a pile of international bankers on a Tiki Tour. I am told the Hong Kong-based head of Goldman Sachs was one of them.
They went to Fiordland – landing in the Murchison Mountains, (Takahe), Chalky Island (Kakapo) in Chalky Inlet, and Resolution Island in Dusky Sound.”
I wonder if you were aware of this trip because it seems to be in your area?
Perhaps there is an innocent explanation why 30 international bankers would land on Resolution Island, Chalky Island and on the Murchisons.
I have emailed the Member for Southland-Clutha for his view on the same matter.
I look forward to your early response from yourself or from the Councilor for the ward concerned.
And he responded:
Good morning xxxxxxx
Thank you for your email.
I am aware of the charter that was undertaken by a group from an international conservancy board. I find it heartening that this group of people, ones that are involved in international conservation efforts at their own cost, actually get out and about to see what their money is helping to do.
I have been to all of the areas you have mentioned and I have seen the work the Department of Conservation is doing. On one occasion I had the pleasure of releasing 2 (of 10) Takahe into the Murchison’s, a day I will always remember.
Some of this work would not be possible without the monetary efforts from a group such as you have described, so I do believe there is an innocent explanation.
As Mayor I am proud of those efforts and encourage others to do the same. I don’t believe this was a “pile of international bankers on a tiki tour”. I understand that it was a controlled and coordinated charter where the philanthropists gained a knowledge and understanding by seeing Fiordland up close.
I don’t believe there is anything else I can say on the matter, but thank you for your enquiry.
Yours in Southland
Southland District Council
PO Box 903
Feedback about The Nature Conservancy group
We have also had feedback about The Nature Conservancy group from another reader who lived in an area that was taken over by TNC. The comment is quoted below with permission, names also withheld as requested:
“…you are right about the Nature Conservancy. They bought up a large swathe of land on my former home, the island of Molokai, Hawaii. I knew a local gal there, young and strong, who quit working for them. Why? First, they fenced off the land. Then they brought in sharp shooters from airplanes to “eliminate” the”non-native species” — goats and pigs.
I overheard waterway workers complain that the dead carcasses were rotting right in there the aqueduct that goes through tunnels from that side of the island to the population on the other side — as drinking and ag water. Then they sought to eliminate the “non-native” flora. That’s why she quit. They had her spraying toxic herbicides all day long, and she was afraid of becoming sterile! Also, when they purchase a piece of land, they rope it off for “conservation” and people are not allowed to go there and enjoy the beauty any more.”
A big thank you to our two informants.
Photo: Resolution Island, Fiordland NZ, Wikipedia