Coal Action Network Aotearoa May Newsletter

Kia ora koutou,

Welcome to the May Coal Action Network Aotearoa newsletter. In this newsletter, we report on the Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Hikoi and all the related events, including an anti-coal action. We have news of nonviolent direct action training and how you can become involved, and reaction to the Environment Court’s decision on whether climate change can be taken into account when consent resource consent applications for a new coal mine.

Rod Morris continues his Denniston speaking tour, with CANA providing speakers on the relationship between coal and climate change at a number of the venues, and local and regional groups are continuing to build the campaign nationwide.

There is plenty more news as well, and a focus on the economics of coal mining, with some good evidence to throw back at those who claim that coal mining makes communities richer. (In case you were wondering, it doesn’t.)

A reminder, too, that you are welcome to join our Facebook group and invite your friends to do likewise.

And you can follow us on Twitter

Regards
Tim Jones

Contents

1. The Campaign Against Asset Sales
2. Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA) Training
3. Climate Change and the Law
4. Denniston News and Events
5. Regional/Local Group Reports
6. Economics and Jobs
7. The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement(TPPA)
8. Solid Energy Financial Review report
9. Video and Audio
10. News Snippets
11. CANA online: Blog, Facebook and Twitter
12. How To Donate to CANA

1. The Campaign Against Asset Sales

a) Citizens Initiated Referendum Campaign

The Campaign for a Citizens Initiated Referendum against the privatisation of state owned enterprises, including Solid Energy, has been officially launched – as reported by Greenpeace’s Nathan Argent, who attended the launch: http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/blog/growing-opposition-to-assets-sales-bridges-ge/blog/40365/

The campaign has now entered the vital stage of gathering enough signatures to force a referendum. You can join the campaign and get involved in gathering signatures here: http://keepourassets.org.nz/

It’s very important to remember that this is a highly formal process and that the validity of signatures will be closely scrutinised. The only people who are eligible to sign the petition are those who are on the electoral roll – so, if people aren’t on the roll, they should go and enrol. And those who sign need to give their full name and address as shown on the electoral roll. These conditions must be met by over 300,000 people for the call for a referendum to succeed – so make sure your details, and those of the people you sign up, are correct!

b) Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Hikoi

The Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Hikoi began on 24 April. Travelling from Cape Reinga to Wellington, the hikoi marched through many towns and cities along the path to Parliament. Auckland Coal Action was part of the march in Auckland on Saturday 28 April (see their regional report below), while in Wellington, members of many anti-coal, anti-fracking and other environmental groups joined an estimated 6000 people who marched to Parliament on Friday 4 May.

I was on the Wellington march, and the atmosphere was thrilling: excited, noisy, passionate. But also determined: the people who traveled down the country and the people who joined them in Wellington, Maori and Pakeha, tangata whenua and tauiwi, hadn’t come for a picnic. Politicians from parties that supported asset sales, or had done so in the past, were booed: politicians from parties that opposed them were cheered. John Key, and National, were nowhere to be seen.

The hikoi wasn’t solely about asset sales. It also contained powerful representations from communities all around the North Island threatened by mining and drilling and fracking – from Te Whanau a Apanui on the East Coast, opposed to oil drilling off their coast; from anti-fracking campaigns in Taranaki and elsewhere; from Northland; from the Waikato. The campaign against asset sales and the campaign against the exploitation of Aotearoa and its environment by mining companies and a foolish and greedy Government are intimately linked, and the hikoi made those links clear.

Thanks to the immense efforts of organizer Mike Smith and the people from the hikoi staying at Pipitea Marae, the hikoi continued to make its presence felt around Wellington during the following week, with a series of demonstrations on different themes, including an anti-fracking march on the Monday, and an anti-privatisation protest outside the Stock Exchange on the Thursday. On Tuesday, there was an anti-coal action:

c) “Let’s Put A Freeze on Coal Mining”: Tuesday 8 May, Wellington

Around 50 members of CANA, Forest and Bird, Ora Taiao, 350.org, Generation Zero and the Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Hikoi came together in Midland Park, Lambton Quay, Wellington on Tuesday 8 May to call for the Government to put a freeze on coal. The event was part of the “Say No to Coal Mining Day” of the Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Hikoi.

You can read more about the event, and see the TV3 coverage, here: http://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/wellington-puts-a-freeze-on-coal-mining/

2. Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA) Training

Nonviolent direct action (NVDA) against the coal industry and its business and institutional supporters has always been an important part of Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s campaign strategy.

Effective nonviolent direct action, and in particular an effective NVDA campaign, benefits greatly from having people involved who understand how NVDA campaigns work and are trained in NVDA techniques. CANA has offered to run NVDA workshops for regional groups around the country, and we recently ran the first of these in Otago, with people from a range of groups involved. It sounds as though the people who attended got a lot out of it.

A Southland NVDA workshop will take place in June, and we know of plans being made to take up this offer in other parts of the country as well. Although they are primarily for members of CANA and of the local regional anti-coal action groups, members of other allied campaigns are also welcome to attend if places are available.

If you are interested in taking part in the Southland NVDA workshop, which will take place from 22-24 June at Te Tomairangi, please contact Jenny Campbell, jennycam@xtra.co.nz, 03 248 6398, 027 351 0180.

Keep an eye out for a forthcoming workshop in your area, or contact us at coalactionnetwork@gmail.com if your group is interested in hosting an NVDA workshop.

If you are interested in the theory and practice of nonviolent direct action, you can download Allan Cumming’s booklet How Nonviolence Works, incorporating his earlier booklet Understanding Nonviolence, from our website: http://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/classic-new-zealand-booklets-on-nonviolent-direct-action-now-available-to-download/

3. Climate Change and the Law

When we went to press last month we were anxiously awaiting the Environment Court’s decision on a declaratory judgement to clarify whether climate change can be taken into account when considering an application for a new coal mine. Jeanette Fitzsimons reports on the outcome:

A 2004 amendment to the RMA says that greenhouse gases may not be considered in hearings on consents for air discharges (e.g. new power stations), because greenhouse emissions were to be controlled instead by a central government economic instrument – which later became the ETS. However, with export coal (Denniston, Pike, Mt William, Happy Valley) the application does not include an air discharge consent and the coal will be burned overseas where there are no economic instruments, carbon taxes or ETS schemes to reduce emissions. Therefore these aspects of the amendment should not apply.

The decision went in favour of the mining company, creating a precedent that contributions to climate change cannot be considered in any application under the RMA. This will prevent us arguing climate change at the appeal on the Denniston consent, as well as at the hearing on Mt William and any other mine intending to export the coal. The judge held that the purpose clause of the amendment was paramount, including over the wording of the Act itself. This is a narrow question of interpretation of the law, and there is no space to argue the seriousness of climate change. We want to do that at the main appeal against the consent, but this decision, if it stands, prevents that.

Both Forest and Bird and West Coast Environment Network are appealing the decision to the High Court, which might or might not refer it up to the Court of Appeal. The mining company has been publicly celebrating but the game is not over yet.

Stop Press: There was an elephant in the room at the Mt William North coal mining proposal consent hearing on Monday 28 May – the elephant of climate change. Find out more here: http://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/elephant-in-the-room-at-westport-hearing/

4. Denniston News and Events

In addition to the news about the Environment Court’s decision and the subsequent appeal, plenty of other things are going on in the campaign against mining the Denniston Plateau:

a) Denniston Petitions

Two international petition sites currently have petitions up against mining Denniston, and we encourage you to sign and share them both:

Avaaz: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/No_coal_mine_on_the_Denniston_Plateaux/?cl=1804493449&v=14235

Care2Causes: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/339/133/078/new-zealand-dont-allow-coal-mining-in-denniston-plateau/

b) Rod Morris Speaking Tour

Wildlife photographer Rod Morris continues his speaking tour of the country during June. Rod is speaking about the beauty and biodiversity of the Denniston Plateau, which coal mining company Bathurst Resources wants to destroy. This is a great chance to see his amazing photos of the unique flora and fauna on Denniston Plateau.

At many of these meetings he will be joined by a speaker from Coal Action Network Aotearoa, Generation Zero or Climate Justice, who will add to Rod’s conservation message by discussing the risks to the climate of mining the Denniston Plateau.

1 June, 7:00 pm
Manaia PHO rooms, 28 Rust Avenue, Whangarei
Hosted by Mine Watch Northland
Contact: the-farm@ihug.co.nz

6 June, 7:30 pm
Kapiti Community Centre (Pak ‘n’ Save room), Ngahina St, Paraparaumu
Hosted by the Kapiti-Mana branch of Forest and Bird
Contact: Ian.Corder@clear.net.nz

7 June, 7:30 pm
Hutt Tramping Club, Birch Street, Waterloo
Hosted by the Lower Hutt branch of Forest and Bird
Contact: russelljamesbell@gmail.com

11 June
Thompson House, Cnr Kent and Cambridge Streets, Levin
Hosted by the Horowhenua branch of Forest and Bird
Contact: debbie@ballinger.co.nz

12 June, 7:30 pm
Speirs Centre, Featherston St, Palmerston North
Hosted by the Manawatu branch of Forest and Bird
Contact: dennis.d@inspire.net.nz

14 June, 7:30 pm
The Baptist Church auditorium, 89 Liardet Street (opposite the Council buildings), New Plymouth
Hosted by the North Taranaki branch of Forest and Bird
Contact: jhunt@ihug.co.nz

5. Regional/Local Group Reports

Auckland

Jill Whitmore reports for Auckland Coal Action:

ACA prepared banners and signs and joined in the Auckland march against asset sales on Saturday 28 April. It was a good event, drawing sympathetic responses from the crowds of onlookers in Queen St, though we felt afterwards that a position further forward in the march would have given us better exposure. We deliberately passed our leaflets to other marchers, as being a good audience.

On Saturday 5th May we went to Mission Bay in support of 350.org’s “Join the Dots” day. About 60 or 70 people waded into the water with umbrellas, to form a dotted line representing a sea wall against rising sea levels. One member brought with her bags of produce which went well as a small fundraiser.

The other big event this month has been the fundraiser for the Denniston appeal, a film evening (with refreshments) where we screened the film Just Do It, a romp with a young bunch of UK activists (recommended), after a short but rousing talk by Jeanette Fitzsimons on why we need a coal-free Aotearoa. This evening was a success. The 60 seats sold out beforehand, raising around $700.

ACA Meeting invitation
The next two meetings are on the second Saturday of the month (usually it’s the first).

So the dates are Saturday 9 June, 1-4pm and Saturday 14 July, 1-4pm

Venue: Quaker Meeting House, 113 Mt Eden Rd

New members welcome!

About Auckland Coal Action
Auckland Coal Action was formed in July 2011 following the visit of Dr James Hansen. We recognise that coal is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels and that its ongoing use will lead to catastrophic climate change. We aim to achieve a coal-free Aotearoa by 2030, initially by opposing the expansion of coal mining. We do this work to play our part in sustaining a benign climate for us, our children and grandchildren.

Join our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/aklcoal/

Subscribe to our monthly email update, contact: aucklandcoalaction@gmail.com

Wellington

“Keep the Coal in the Hole” Gatherings
These informal, two-monthly gatherings arose out of the Mataura Summer Festival and provide a chance to network, educate ourselves, and organise together. All Wellington people who are or want to get involved in anti-coal action are welcome.

Our next gathering is at 6pm on Thursday 28 June. For the address of the gathering and further information, please contact frances.mountier@gmail.com. We’ll be learning more about alternative energy sources and about Solid Energy, then going on to plan future events.

Lower Hutt

A few climate justice folks from Lower Hutt put on an anti-fracking film screening on May Day. Over 40 people attended, which was fantastic. Over $100 was raised for Climate Justice Taranaki. Members of Mana Poneke spoke about the hikoi, and the connections between workers’ rights and the climate justice / anti-extraction movement.

Canterbury

Rachel Eyre reports:

Canterbury Coal Action (CCA) has been busy recently, getting our name and our message out there.

The local Anti-Fracking groups organised a public concert to raise awareness and invited CCA (and many others) along to join the fun and promote ourselves. Christchurch turned on a great day and there was a big, supportive crowd, all eager to sign petitions, buy T shirts, catch up on news, as well as listen to the music. We had a prime spot so everybody who was there now knows about us.

Internationally, “350” is the safe level for carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere and also a movement of people and groups for a clean energy future. There was an international day of action on 5 May and Canterbury Coal Action hosted and organised the local event. The theme was “Connect the Dots” and for us that meant bringing together the different groups that are working on climate change issues. It was an afternoon of shared endeavour, strategy and connection. Hopefully that means more people and organisations will support our campaigns in the future.

Canterbury Coal Action meets at 7.30 pm on the first Wednesday every month at the WEA in Gloucester St, Christchurch, so the next meeting is on Wednesday 6 June. Supporters are always welcome.

Find us online at http://canterburycoalaction.blogspot.co.nz/

Dunedin

After the success of the NVDA workshop, reported above, here are a few more Dunedin notices:

  • Monday June 4, 8pm at Circadian Rhythm café: the Drinking Liberally group presents a “Keep our Assets”special, speaker tbc.
  • Saturday 16 June, 11am, Dunedin Keep Our Assets March, Beginning outside the Dental School. Note the change of date from 9 to 16 June. This is being coordinated by Grey Power and NZUSA, with support from the Green Party, Labour Party and trade unions.
  • Saturday July 14 – Socialist Saturday– a day long panel discussion with topics such as “Confronting the Environmental Crisis”, is being organised by the International Socialists (ISO), with speakers tbc. Email contact@iso.org.nz or phone 022 6799417 for more information.
  • A note from www.oilfreeotago.org: In October this year the US based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in partnership with Australian based Origin Energy intend to start deep sea oil drilling in the Canterbury Basin, about 60 km off the coast of Dunedin. The global oil giants Shell and OMV are also currently exploring the Great South Basin for new oil and gas reserves, also just off the coast of Dunedin. Find out more on the Oil Free Otago website.

Southland

Coal Action Murihiku news update – May 2012

CAM has been very energised since the last newsletter with our official launch as our main focus.

The official launch of CAM happened on the evening of Anzac Day at Gore’s ArtSouth gallery. About 40 people took the opportunity to hear Southland artist Wallace Keown’s story and passions about what drove him to produce so many significant works with different styles over a lifetime. He spoke about some of his protest works with the main focus being CAM’s purchase ‘Mataura Billboard-How Green was my Valley’ painted in 1981- in the Muldoon Think Big era. John Purey-Cust spoke about the significance of the painting in the CAM campaign, and Jenny Campbell spoke about CAM and current issues.

We are still brainstorming ideas in order to use Wallace’s painting to its best advantage and the launch brought some media attention so raising awareness and highlighting the issues. Billboard postings, numbered prints, postcards, and posters are all being planned – ideas welcome!

David Russell, a professional photographer, produced photographs and a caption printed on to Solid Energy coal sacks with people at the Summer Festival featuring. They were put up at the CAM launch and are most impressive. They are available for use around Aotearoa / NZ for others to use- just ask via coalactionnetwork@gmail.com.

On Saturday 12 May we joined the march and activities against Asset Sales which was well supported in Invercargill, with a reported 400 people attending. Conditions were cool, but there were lots of positive speeches about our determination to stop this, and many signatures for the referendum collected, and people went away with sheets to get filled in asap. Please make sure you sign one and get your friends and family involved.
Splitting wood for sale happened on Anzac Day afternoon. A crew of about 10 took advantage of a gorgeous sunny Southland day to produce a stack. On Saturday 26 May CAM will tackle some more log splitting as well as be joined by Generation Zero members from Dunedin and a national Greenpeace member. We will talk over lunch about current issues, how we can support each other and how to be effective in our campaign.

CAM is organising a NVDA (Non Violent Direct Action) workshop in June in Invercargill. It will take place from 22-24 June at Te Tomairangi. If you are interesting in taking part in the Southland NVDA workshop, please contact Jenny Campbell, jennycam@xtra.co.nz, 03 248 6398, 027 351 0180.

There have been several submissions called for re local Councils’ Long Term Plans with members of our CAM group submitting and speaking to aspects around lignite and associated concerns such as health, air, water, economic.

Rangimarie, kia kaha
Jenny Campbell

6. Economics and Jobs

a) Coal Mining Impoverishes Local Communities

One of the ways the mining industry tries to win over local communities is by promising wealth and jobs. In fact, coal mining makes communities poorer, not richer.

Jeanette Fitzsimons illustrated the point very well in one of the slides in her presentation to the Community Day of the Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival. It compares the wealth of coal mining communities to the wealth of the communities around them, and clearly shows that coal mining impoverishes almost every community where it takes place.

This is a great resource to challenge any assumptions that coal mining will make the communities where it occurs wealthy. Check out the slide and related information here:http://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/the-economic-wellbeing-of-coal-mining-communities/

b) Highly Skilled Mining Positions Available (Locals Needn’t Apply)

The good news is that there are highly-paid mining jobs going in New Zealand … so long as you’re not actually a New Zealander. This Vancouver Sun article talks of recruiters offering top dollar for overseas mining professionals to work on mining projects in Australia and New Zealand: http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/05/09/head-hunters-from-down-under/

That’s “work for a few years”, of course – come here, tear the land apart, pollute the air and water, push the climate even closer to the brink of catastrophe, and then take the money and run. Nice work if you can get it?

7. The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

As you may have heard, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is a multilateral “trade” agreement being negotiated by nine countries, including New Zealand, under the leadership of the United States. It pointedly and deliberately excludes China, and has become in essence an attempt by the US to economically and politically isolate China while strengthening its own sphere of influence.

But why should we care? Because, in exchange for the mirage of greater access for agricultural products to US markets, the New Zealand Government is on track not only to sign away existing environmental protections, but to commit us to an international regime under which foreign investors in New Zealand coal projects will be able to sue the New Zealand government in an international court if it attempts to tighten environment rules in future – and that includes imposing new restrictions or costs, or strengthening existing restrictions, on greenhouse gas emissions.

If you’re keen to get more involved in the campaign against the TPPA, the place to sign up is the TPPA Watch website: http://tppwatch.org/ – and read the backgrounders here: http://tppwatch.org/what-is-tppa/

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is heavily involved in the campaign against the TPPA, and you should also check out their TPPA page: http://union.org.nz/tppa

8. Solid Energy Financial Review report

As we reported in the April newsletter, we carried out a small action at Solid Energy’s appearance at the Commerce Select Committee on 5 April. The occasion was the company’s annual review, and the committee has now produced its report of that hour-long session. Buried beneath the rather bland language of the report are the curly questions that Labour and Green members of the Committee asked Solid Energy – about their environmental record, and about the details of the Government’s proposed privatization process – and Solid Energy’s often inadequate responses. You can read the report here:

http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/AB9D42AD-B289-42FB-946F-258B500E9891/218360/DBSCH_SCR_5446_201011financialreviewofSolidEnergyN.pdf

(Please note: to make this PDF load, you may need to copy the link and paste it into your browser window, rather than clicking on it in this document.)

If this is the first you’ve heard about our 5 April action, find out more here: http://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/the-good-times-are-over-for-solid-energy/

9. Video and Audio

We’re making some changes to the CANA website to make information easier to find. One of these changes is to put up a separate page for video and audio files related to the campaign. These are a really good way to get people’s attention.

Check out the Video and Audio page on the website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SOokUdKYcM&hd=1

Talking of videos, here is a powerful video from our friends at Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUoIMSM2uDM

The Resources page on our website will be next to get a revamp. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUoIMSM2uDM

10. News Snippets

11. CANA online: Blog, Facebook and Twitter

Blog

CANA’s blog is at http://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com

As well as our latest news, you’ll find pages (shown across the top of the blog) with information and resources you can use.

Facebook

CANA has a very active and fast-growing Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/218300434877031/

If you’re already a member of the Facebook group, please advertise it on your newsfeed and invite friends to join – and if you’re not on the group, please go to the page and apply to join it.

A Facebook page we encourage you to Like is Leave the Lignite, Save the Soil: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Leave-the-Lignite-Save-the-Soil/129179047159254

Say No To Fracking in NZ also has a Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/saynotofrackingnz/

Twitter

We are also on Twitter, and we encourage you to follow us there and retweet our tweets (thanks to everyone who has been doing so!): https://twitter.com/#!/coalaction

12. How To Donate to CANA

We rely on your generous donations to keep the campaign going. Here are the account details if you want to donate:

Coal Action Network
Kiwibank
38 9011 0484435 00

Comments are closed.