Category Archives: CAN Aotearoa newsletter

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter November 2014

What’s in this newsletter? 

1.  Upcoming Events

2.  Heads in the Sand! Join us on December 7

3.  The Elections – analysis from Jeanette Fitzsimons

4.  The IPCC – and New Zealand’s response

5.  Honey I shrunk the Board!  Bathurst Resources AGM

6. Bathurst extracts its first coal from Denniston

7. Wood energy prospects exciting

8. The “Beyond Coal and Gas Conference,” Australia

9.  Jobs After Coal report

10. From our Blog

11.  seeing off climate deniers

12. A special message from the Flat Earth Society

13. Divestment: decisions building

14. Climate voter march – report from Christchurch

15 Want to get coal news from around the world?

1. Upcoming Events

November 29-30  Step it Up – tools for systematic change (Auckland)

December 6         Ahipara Stop Statoil Concert  – and Ridesharing site from Auckland here

December 7          Heads in the Sand (National). See our Facebook event (and below for more info).

2.  Heads in the Sand – Save the Date on December 7

Our Government, with its relentless focus on minerals extraction policies and addiction to dairy, has got its head in the sand on climate change.  We’ve had enough of its weak, “let everyone else go first” attitude on climate, and its ongoing minerals extraction programme that threatens our beaches, our water, our coastlines and our Maui’s dolphins.

So we’ve decided to organise a Day of Action at beaches around the country on December 7, to send a message to the Government that we think it has its head in the sand on these issues.

The date coincides with the beginning of the second week of the international climate change talks in Lima, when our Ministers will be either there, or getting ready to leave.

We now have events set up in these places (links are to Facebook page events)

Dunedin:           1200 St Clair Beach
Christchurch     1200 New Brighton Pier
Nelson               11.30 Tahunanui Beach
Wellington        11.30 Oriental Bay
Auckland’s West Coast:  Bethells Beach, 1000 am

Invercargill:  meet on Oreti beach from 11.30 a.m. for a midday photo call, which will be followed by a family picnic. Organised by Coal Action Murihiku. Contact Jenny Campbell, 027 351 0180, jennycam@xtra.co.nz or Dave Kennedy 027  258 6686, vickbick.davek@xtra.co.nz

Ahipara:  watch for news of the event on our facebook page.

Lima: a small team of kiwis will carry out this action on Lima’s Miraflores beach.

We’re looking for an Auckland person to be an on-the-ground contact for an event at Mission Bay, because lots activists will be up north in Ahipara. If you can help with this, please email  coalactionnetwork@gmail.com

If you want to hold an event at your own beach, create a Facebook event and post it up on our main event page, and we’ll promote it for you. We’ve set up a Facebook page as an overall event page.   Also please let us know – email coalactionnetwork@gmail.com

It’s a really easy event to do – on our page we have details of the “how to” (with health and safety guidelines, plus media guidelines) and we think it’ll send a strong message.  This event was done in Australia as a message to Prime Minister Tony Abbott but, to be honest, our Government is no better.  We’ll also have a media plan to go with it and instructions to support you.

Please help us promote this event in the next two weeks by sharing on Facebook and with your friends and, of course, taking part.  

 

3.   The elections  

– Jeanette Fitzsimons

So: the election has come and gone and nothing has changed, except the perception that John Key has a renewed mandate to drill, mine and frack. It’s hard not to despair – so much more harm can be done in the next three years.

And of course he doesn’t really have that mandate. Surveys have shown that a substantial majority of kiwis want government to invest in clean energy rather than in extracting more fossil fuels.

But maybe it has to get worse to get better: to mobilise people to fight back. I’m just back from the Beyond Coal and Gas conference in Queensland where 270 committed activists strategised. They really have a nation-wide movement now, with more than 200 local “lock the gate” groups, a number of successful blockades and divestment campaigns, and traveling across the country to support each others’ actions.

That is not an accident; Australia is one giant fossil fuel mine, and people have reacted by becoming more active, more informed, more strategic and more co-operative. They have great communications and great financial analysis. We are going to need the same to protect Aotearoa from the new coal mines and deep sea oil fields that the Government and their corporate friends will be trying to foist on us over the next three years.

Where do you fit in? Will you join us at the next action?  Heads in the Sand, we hope, will be the first of many actions over the coming year.

4.  The IPCC – and New Zealand’s response

– Cindy Baxter

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has now released its final report – and it’s not great news.  The global assessment of more than 30,000 studies concludes that climate change is here, we’re causing it. What’s more, we have to rid the global electricity system of fossil fuels by 2050 – and the world of fossil fuels by 2100 if we want to keep warming below 2degC.  Carbon Brief has a good summary of what’s in the report.

The good news is that IPCC says it’s not going to cost a lot to do this, and renewable energy is on the up, especially in developing countries.   There are so many resources on the IPCC it’s difficult to know where to start.  This video is great.  The Tree (produced by the Global Campaign for Climate Action) has  a full set of resources.

The New Zealand Government “welcomed” the report, but Climate Change Minister went on to say that he didn’t want to hurt the bank accounts of big business by adopting “The Greens Agenda”.  No, Minister, it’s not the Greens’ agenda, it’s a global one, led by UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon. New Zealand’s contribution to the global debate so far has been to weaken our Emissions Trading Scheme, and suggest to the international community that the global agreement to be finalised in Paris next year should not include legally binding emissions reductions.  I have blogged on this, and a Pentagon report saying that climate change is an immediate threat to global security, here at Hot Topic.

5. Honey I shrunk the Board!

A team of hardy “faux” shareholders turned out in Wellington on the morning of Bathurst’s AGM on Friday 14 November, armed with reports and faux board members, to hold the “alternative” AGM, one that talked about a real future.  We called it our “Alternative Stakeholder Meeting”.

It was a peaceful affair, with the team managing to get into the legal offices where the meeting was held and get through about half our own stakeholder meeting agenda before one of the law firm’s partners got around to asking us to leave. By then, we’d managed to make a considerable impression on Bathurst shareholders arriving for their AGM.

We then ran through our entire stakeholder meeting on The Terrace .  There are photos and press release on our blog here and more photos on 350.org’s Facebook page.

The blog’s headline refers to the fact that Bathurst is so strapped for money they had to fire two members of their own Board to save some cash.

6.  Bathurst extracts its first coal from Denniston
-Jeanette Fitzsimons

Despite all our best efforts, we have to make the painful announcement that Bathurst is extracting its first coal from the Escarpment mine on the Denniston plateau.

For two and a half years we challenged them in the courts. From the first hearing in Westport, to Forest & Bird’s challenges in the Environment Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal, to a parallel process where we assisted West Coast Environment Network arguing whether they should have to consider the impact of the coal on climate change, which ran in the Environment Court, the High Court and eventually in the Supreme Court.

During all this Rob Morris toured with his stunning photos of the wildlife on the plateau, and Forest & Bird held “bioblitzes” to discover new species in the mine area. Finally they needed a consent to operate from the minister of Conservation who despite his title decided this exceptional biodiversity didn’t matter.

But sometimes when you lose, you win. While all this was going on the international price of coking coal dropped from over $300/tonne to $107, making mining uneconomic for Bathurst.

They have dropped their production target from 500,000 MT/y rising to 2MT/y, to just 75,000 MT in the first year. They plan to use it in the local market and to send some overseas to potential customers to prove quality. We wonder how, at that price, they plan to pay the $40m they will owe to L&M, from whom they bought the mine, once they have extracted 25,000 tonnes.

No reputable analyst expects coal prices to rise in the next few years. They will make a smallish mess of the plateau, and we are sad and angry about that, but most of the coal will stay in the ground at present prices.

Further, the next 6-7 mines they plan on the plateau are unlikely to proceed.

7.  Wood energy prospects exciting
– Jenny Campbell

The focus on using wood as an energy source was the theme at the launch of the Wood EnergySouth project in late October, with about 70 people from across Southland businesses, schools, forestry interests and local and central government intent on learning of the potential.

‘’The target from the project is to deliver 55 000 cubic metres of woodchips being delivered annually to industries such as the meat works as well as smaller businesses and schools,’’ technical support advisor, Venture Southland, Lloyd McGinty says.  The scheme had incentives on offer as well as capital support for projects switching away from coal to wood.

Two highlights of the day were site visits to McCallum Group laundry at Otepuni Avenue, Invercargill with its recycled wood chip boiler and as a contrast, Slinkskins at Thornbury with their new, state of the art industrial heat plant.

Managing Director of McCallum Group, Wayne McCallum spoke to about 30 people at his plant, about their pioneering efforts in converting from LPG and oil.  Buying a lignite boiler from a dairy factory and converting it to a wood chip boiler was a good investment, and had huge benefits in fuel savings, savings on boiler maintenance, health and safety benefits.

People were impressed with the cleanliness of the boiler room and their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint by a further 25%. Support from the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) had been invaluable with their support and advice and they are available on a continuing basis now through this Wood Energy South project, funded by the government.

Information for all the different applications for schools, industrial, commercial and service providers are on the website.

8. The “Beyond Coal and Gas Conference,” Australia
– Rosemary Penwarden

Fighter planes flew low in formation over our heads, adding to the unreality of the Beyond Coal and Gas conference near Brisbane recently; unreal because I had flown over fresh snow on the Maungatuas near Dunedin Airport to arrive in 39 degree heat in the Lucky Country, just as Australian Super Hornets had flown their 43rd sortie into Iraq as part of the US-led operation “Inherent Resolve”. The planes weren’t spying on us – there was an air force base nearby, but despite the heat it sent a chill down my spine.

There’s another war going on in Australia. On one side is a fossil fuel industry displaying all the signs of desperation as it scrapes and sucks coal and coal seam gas (CSG) from below the feet and livelihoods of Australians in a mad rush to meet shareholder expectations, endangering all in its path, including Australia’s most precious natural resource, its water.

On the other side are growing numbers of people from all walks of life, from farms and cities, young and old, black, brown and sunburned white, standing up and saying NO. Many hundreds of arrests, blockades, sit-ins, and all kinds of creative and peaceful direct action have followed community meetings. Australia’s biggest ever social movement is on the rise.

My favourite story from the weekend was of a farmer, at first defeated and depressed about the CSG invasion of his region, organising, blockading his land alongside neighbours, indigenous people and environmentalists, and finally donating 1,000 acres of it back to the local aboriginals, the nation’s ‘first owners’ (who say they do not ‘own’ Mother Earth – she owns them). Before the blockade changed his life, he had never spoken to an aboriginal person.

People power is giving the Australian government and fossil fuel industrial ‘war’ machine a run for its money and in places it’s winning.

For the amazing and inspiring story of the Bentley Blockade in the Northern Rivers, NSW: http://csgfreenorthernrivers.org/about-the-csg-free-campaign/

Front line action on coal to save the Laird State Forest.

Lock the Gate alliance

I felt privileged to meet so many committed, ‘ordinary’ people who understand the science and threat of climate change, who understand what needs to be done and are doing it. They are not defeated. They will win.

9. Jobs After Coal report
– Rosemary Penwarden

Jeanette and I took CANA’s Jobs After Coal report to Australia in the last week of October, to the Beyond Coal and Gas conference where we met up with around 270 campaigners against coal and coal seam gas. Our “Just Transitions” workshop attracted a big crowd and plenty of discussion.

We’re at different stages in the shift away from coal here in New Zealand, with half the coal mining workforce already gone in the past few years, but layoffs and mine closures are now increasing in Australia. Discussions are underway in the Aussie union movement and, as in New Zealand, the transition to renewables is happening despite a backward-looking, head-in-the-sand and hand-in-the-coal-industry’s-pocket government.

One of the really interesting movements taking root there is Earthworker Co-operativea community-led initiative to provide sustainable, wealth-creating jobs that empower local communities and provide clean energy solutions.

10. On our blog

What you may have missed in our recent blogs:

Why would a Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement be bad for the climate? Tim Jones explains.

National’s Mining Agenda Has Failed by Tim Jones: After two terms of promoting mining, and bending over backwards to accommodate mining, and opening up conservation land and the seabed to mining, and removing legal impediments to mining – National has nothing to show for it.

11. Seeing off climate deniers

We were struck with horror on the morning on 4 November when TVNZ’s Breakfast show ran a full interview with the NZ Climate Science Coalition’s Bryan Leyland as part of its IPCC coverage.

They just let him talk his terrible nonsense about how the world wasn’t warming.  A really good blog went up on Hot Topic about how wrong Leyland was, and many of us set about tweeting to TVNZ, commenting on their Facebook post and making formal complaints.  We understand our climate scientists were also pretty upset.

By the afternoon, TVNZ had gotten the message, and took the whole story and video down off its website.  They left their Facebook post up, which links to nowhere, but which has the deluge of outrage.  Thanks to everyone who joined the fray – it was worth it.  Let’s hope TVNZ is a little more careful when considering interviewing climate cranks like this in the future. Leyland is an engineer, and not a climate scientist,  and to let him have such a clear run in the face of a global assessment of 30,000 studies was terrible.

We would like to see TVNZ taking a look at how it covers scientific issues, especially climate science, just as the BBC has. The BBC’s Trust has issued guidelines on science reporting.  Its review says:

“The BBC has a duty to reflect the weight of scientific agreement but it should also reflect the existence of critical views appropriately. Audiences should be able to understand from the context and clarity of the BBC’s output what weight to give to critical voices…. Judging the weight of scientific agreement correctly will mean that the BBC avoids the ‘false balance’ between fact and opinion”

12. A special update from the Flat Earth Society.

There’s this outfit called the Flat Earth Society who want to be friends with those who claim global warming is a conspiracy.  They sent us details of an outing they had in Dunedin on the occasion of a visit by Australian climate sceptic Bob Carter.

“On the 9th day of September in the Year of Our Lord 2014, on the occasion of the noble endeavour of His Eminence the Emeritus Bob Carter to strike down the Conspiracy of those Treacherous Scientists and Greens who have forced our government in the City of Wellington to pay homage to the dark Lords of NIWA, NASA and the veritable nest of vipers that is the IPCC, we, of the Dunedin Branch of the Flat Earth Society, had the great pleasure of welcoming Him and extending the hand of Friendship and Solidarity.

“We rejoice that we have found a like-minded soul battling such a global conspiracy, and rejoice that the esteemed and intelligent University of Otago Vice Chancellor saw fit to allow our Dear Bob to speak in our fair but misguided City. Our arm of Friendship and Solidarity extends to this Dear Lady.

“We await, with usual unlimited patience, a reply from His Eminence Bob Carter, to our humble request to share with us some of the bright fine gold that has come his way in support of his Great Mission from most venerable sources, such as the Heartland Institute and their friends ExxonMobil, Koch Brothers and Scaife Family Foundations.”

13. Divestment decisions building

New Zealand Institutions have been among the leaders of the pack on divestment from fossil fuels.  First, we had the New Zealand and Pacific diocese of the Anglican Church pledged to get out of fossil fuels.  It was followed soon after by the Dunedin City Council voting to endorse divestment.  However Dunedin still has a final decision pending:  please sign here to support Dunedin Councillors to do the right thing!).

Then this month the Victoria University Council made a similar decision.  Every week there seem to be new institutions around the world joining the fray, including Stanford University and the Rockefeller Family Fund.

In Australia, there’s been a huge debate, especially after Australian National University made the pledge, and was greeted with howls of derision from the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Education Minister, no doubt spurred on by the mining industry mouthpiece, the Minerals Council.   But the ANU has held its ground.  The whole story can be found here on The Tree (these alerts are great for people wanting to keep up with climate developments) There will be many more to follow.

We’ve seen ourselves here in New Zealand that investment in the coal industry isn’t exactly returning large sums to its shareholders, including Solid Energy and Bathurst Resources, both of which could be described right now as stranded assets.

The wave is getting bigger and we’re very proud that our institutions are part of it.   Special mention here for CANA’s own Jenny Campbell for her tireless work on the Anglican Church.

14. Climate Voter March – great turnout in Christchurch

– Rachel Eyre

A week before the election, and a week prior to the People’s Climate March that started in New York , we held our own spectacular March for Action on the Climate in Christchurch, organised by a diverse NGOs around the Climate Voter theme. Whilst we only had 300 people in contrast to New York’s 400,000 (!), the day was wet and cold and most people would be forgiven for sitting comfortably at home, resigned to the fate of a predetermined election result.  However a wide range of people did turn out with their signs and their umbrellas. We had young and old, Councillors, politicians (you can guess the colours), professionals, including a group of midwives with their babes in arms, and ordinary folk.

These people were not all your typical hardcore environmentalists. For some it was the first time they’d participated in anything like a march but felt compelled to vent their concerns.

The aim of the march was to be as inclusive as possible and to portray climate change as more than an environmental issue, but a social, health and economic one too.  The unifying message was “We want to see effective government action on climate change.”

The atmosphere was very positive and after marching down Riccarton Rd we gathered in Hagley Park for speeches, photos and the deflation of a giant-sized dinosaur representing “down with dinosaur thinking!”

Christchurch will also be one of the places aiming for a great turn out for the ‘Heads in the Sand’ event on 7 December at New Brighton Beach.

15.  Want to read Coal news from around the world?

  • We can heartily recommend subscribing to CoalWire, an international newsletter for people working on coal around the world. This weekly update gives news on everything from local activism in Australia, India and China (and elsewhere) to what’s going on in the world of coal commodities.  Sign up here.
  • There’s also an international website dedicated to #endcoal (that’s the hashtag from here on, twitterers).   Endcoal.org hasn’t got any kiwi stuff on it yet, but it will.

Continue reading

Newsletter July 2013

Kia Ora all

The last month or so has seen a number of revelations on several of our coal fronts.  From Solid Energy walking away from the briquetting plant in Southland to ongoing developments for Bathurst Resources’ efforts to start mining the beautiful Denniston plateau, it’s been hard to keep up with it all.  Yet still, none of them are digging up any more coal. Let’s try and keep it that way.

What’s in this update?

1.     Lignite briquetting plant

2.     Denniston update

3.     Bathurst, new neighbour in a small town

4.     Bill McKibben tour and divestment

5.     Auckland Coal Action’s fight against Fonterra’s coalmine

6.     Coming up:  Generation Zero’s “What’s the Holdup” Tour

7.     Film about “Bidder 70” coming to NZ

8.      International – and climate science catchup

9.     Other news and resources

1.  Lignite briquetting plant

The trials of the Solid Energy/GTL briquetting plant continue at Mataura, with Solid Energy announcing late last month that it will walk away from the plant.  The media covered little of this announcement, but you can find out a lot more about what’s been going on there from our press release on the day.

Given our network includes locals living near to the plant, we have been able to get a lot more information about what’s been going on there – a lot more than what the media’s been covering.  And none of it’s good.

We also managed to get, through the Official Information Act, a document showing us what we suspected: the GTL plant in North Dakota had a massive explosion and is now being dismantled.  So this technology remains experimental.  Why should beautiful Southland farmland be dug up so that GTL can continue to try out its dirty technology to sell it on to Indonesia?

Solid Energy sponsorship under scrutiny:  You may also have missed this article about the millions Solid Energy spent on sponsorship.  We call it buying out criticism and it’s something that most coal and oil companies do to stop local protest about their activities. Continue reading

Newsletter Feb/March 2013

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter  Feb/Mar 2013

Kia Ora Koutou

Welcome to the Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s first newsletter for 2013!

As you are all very much aware, Solid Energy has gone into freefall.  Not only has CEO Don Elder resigned, but the company is now reporting a $389m debt.
But there’s a lot more going on with coal around the country, not least a new proposal by Fonterra to open a mine in the upper North Island at Mangatawhiri.

What’s in this newsletter? 

1.  Upcoming events
2.  Solid Energy’s lost CEO – and its massive debt
3.  Fonterra’s new coal mine
4.  Denniston ruling imminent
5. The Wise Response Appeal on climate change
6.  Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival
7.  What about our drought? Has it got anything to do with climate change?
8 The world hasn’t warmed?
9  International
– Australia’s “Angry Summer”
– Renewable Energy setting records everywhere
– China’s carbon tax

Continue reading

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter November/December 2012

Hi all Coal Action supporters,

Are the lignite projects dead, or just dormant? Why have so many directors left the Solid Energy Board? Who are the keynote speakers at Summerfest? And what went on at the Doha climate talks, where our intrepid Cindy had the real inside story?

This is the last newsletter for the year, compiled by Jeanette, and combines November and December, with the next one planned for after Summerfest, around the start of February. Tim is taking a well-earned break from the newsletter edit while he catches up with other work.

Contents

1. Summerfest
2. Rob McCreath in Dunedin
3. What’s up internationally?
4. What up with Solid Energy?
5. What’s up with Bathurst?
6. In brief….
PCE on fracking
Powershift

Continue reading

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter October 2012

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and on Facebook 

If the New Zealand cricket team needs a new spinner to replace Daniel Vettori, they need look no further than mining industry lobby group Straterra. Perhaps because Solid Energy is in a tailspin and the mining industry has been coming under challenge all around the country in recent months, they have chosen to highlight a survey carried out, in somewhat mysterious circumstances, by Pauline Colmar, formerly of survey firm Colmar Brunton, which purports to show strong public support for mining.

However, on closer inspection, the survey was worded along these lines:

Survey company: Would you swim with sharks – if sharks didn’t bite?
Lots of respondents: Yes
Survey customer press release: “Majority of New Zealanders say they love swimming with sharks”
(notice the lack of options here for a respondent to say “hang on, but sharks DO bite”).

There’s more on that survey below. We have also more on Solid Energy’s troubles and their future plans; more on the forthcoming Powershift conference in December and 2013 Summer Festival in January; and the latest news on Denniston legal action.

Check out our international section that discusses the links between climate change and the horrific “Superstorm Sandy” in the US this week. Our thoughts are with the families of the people who died,  from the Caribbean to the US and Canada, and with those suffering in the devastation Sandy left in its wake. Continue reading

September Newsletter

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter Sept 2012

Follow us on Twitter  
and on Facebook 

Well, as your newsletter editor, I can officially say that I’m tired out. There are fifteen – count ‘em – separate items in this newsletter, and a number of those have sub-items.

There’s good news:

  • We announce a major new information resource on coal mines and coal projects in Aotearoa: the New Zealand section of Coal Swarm.
  • The legal system, in the form of the High Court, finally does something good on climate change.
  • The country’s alive with action: an occupation in Wellington, a protest in Auckland, stalls and conferences and meetings up and down the country, and two big events to look forward to: Powershift 2012 in December and the 2013 Summerfest in January.

And there’s bad news:

  • Solid Energy still wants to build a lignite-to-urea plant in Southland.
  • Steven Joyce is a fool, and what’s more, a fool who doesn’t understand the concept of ‘subjudice’.
  • Fonterra is planning a new coal mine near Auckland.

Most of all, there’s lots of news. And you’ll find it below.

Regards
Tim Jones
Coal Action Network Aotearoa

1. Coming Events
2. Coal Swarm: A New Resource on the New Zealand Coal Industry
3. Solid Energy Sheds Crocodile Tears, Steven Joyce Foams At The Mouth
4. High Court Throws Out Attempt To Discredit NIWA
5. The New Zealand Petroleum Summit: “Are You Ladies Here For The Summit?”
6. Summerfest 2013 Is On! 18-21 January 2013, Dolamore Park, near Gore
7. Powershift 2012: 7-9 December 2012, Auckland
8. Fonterra Is Planning A New Coal Mine Near Auckland
9. Taking A Stand On Otago University’s “Dirty Little Secret”: Lignite-Fired Boilers
10. We Don’t Allow Tobacco Sponsorship. Why Do We Allow Coal Sponsorship?
11. Regional Reports: Southland, Dunedin, Top of the South, Wellington
12. International News
13. Social Media Rivalry: Facebook Takes The Lead
14. Our Blog And Website
15. How To Donate To CANA

Continue reading

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter August 2012

Kia ora koutou,

Don Elder pulls down $1.4 million per year as CEO of Solid Energy – about 51 times the average Kiwi income – well paid for his role in the destruction of our planetary civilisation. So it must be galling for him to have to explain why his company is under-performing so badly.  But it’s galling not only for us, but for the climate,  to look at how he is prioritising his review of the company’s operations.

Our full analysis of the latest events at Solid Energy is now up on the blog.  Please read it and share in your communities. 

Meanwhile, all around Aotearoa, people are putting spanners in the works of Don and his mining, drilling and fracking mates. In August alone:

  • A major gathering of opponents of the Government’s mining agenda took  place in Rotorua
  • An Australian activist toured the country helping tangata whenua and landowners to lock their gates against the mining industry:
  • A BERL report, commissioned by WWF-NZ, shows that Southland would benefit much more by NOT mining lignite.

And that’s just in August. This newsletter also carries announcements of a major conference of youth climate activists in Auckland in December, and the second Summer Festival in Southland in January 2013, organised by Coal Action Murihiku.

Not everything went our way this month: in a decision which once again shows the absurdity of the way climate change is (not) taken into account by the Resource Management Act, three commissioners put their hands over their eyes, ignored that proverbial and literal elephant in the room (see our blog on the hearing  and on the consent) and approved Solid Energy’s resource consent application for its planned Mt William North coalmine.

Tim Jones
Coal Action Network Aotearoa

Contents

1. Coming Events
2. Drew Hutton “Lock the Gates” Tour
3.  Ka Nui! Conference reportback
4. Summerfest 2013 Announcement
5. Asset Sales Campaign: Entering the Home Straight
6. BERL Alternative Southland Economic Strategy Report Launch
7. Powershift 2012
8. Mt William North Mine Resource Consent Decision
9. Regional reports: Southland, Otago, Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland
10. Film Review: Bimblebox
11. News and Resources
12. Update from Australia
13. Are You Team Facebook Or Team Twitter?
14. How To Donate To CANA

1. Coming Events

1 September: Auckland Coal Action meeting, Quaker House, 113 Mt Eden Rd, 1-4pm

5-7 October: Ecumenical Environmental Conference, Wellington.

18 October: Next “Keep the Coal in the Hole” gathering, Wellington. Contact frances.mountier@gmail.com for venue details.

7-9 December: PowerShift 2012, Auckland.

2. Drew Hutton “Lock the Gate!” Tour

Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate Alliance in Queensland has been touring New Zealand in August to talk about the impact the coal seam gas industry and fracking has had on communities and the environment in Australia.

An inspiring speaker who likes to tell stories, Drew has met with farmers, environmentalists, and other key decisionmakers on fracking as he travelled around the country.

For those of you who didn’t get to see Drew, we filmed his Ka Nui! Speech on Saturday – it’s worth watching.  Also check this great TV3 piece on UCG and CSG in Huntly.

The Lock the Gate Alliance is a national alliance of over 120 community, industry and environmental groups and over 1000 supporters concerned with the devastating impact that certain inadequately assessed and inadequately-regulated fossil fuel extraction industries are having on Australia’s short and long term physical, social, environmental and economic wellbeing.

3.  Ka Nui! Enough! Conference

Last weekend, more than 100 activists from Dunedin to Northland, Taranaki to Gisborne, converged in our counter-conference to the NZ minerals institute conference in Rotorua.

It was a great weekend of workshops, inspiring speeches and inspiring people. One of the best bits was the incredible hospitality from the Tangata Whenua of the beautiful Mataikotare Marae on the banks of Lake Rotorua.  Their full participation in our discussions was a valuable contribution to the strong declaration that we all signed onto.  If you like it, use it and share it. Send to your MP, to your local councillor, etc.

We also had time to make a little video about our feelings on the drilling, mining, fracking and seabed mining industries.

Lastly, the 20 or so of us left on Sunday evening paid a little visit to the mining conference’s opening cocktail party, complete with the fabulous Radical Cheerleaders and climate elephants (Drew Hutton joined us as well).

The weekend made us stronger as a network of community groups with a common, shared purpose.  As one participant said: “I really got a lot out of working with others over the weekend, who each have different jigsaw pieces of the same bigger kaupapa of stopping these extractive industries.”

4. Summerfest 2013 Announcement

After the success of Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival, we’re pleased to announce that the Southland anti-coal action group, Coal Action Murihiku, has taken on the task of organizing Summerfest 2013. Here’s the initial announcement from Coal Action Murihiku:

Good news for those of you who missed our initial Summer festival at Mataura last year – that was CANA’s ‘Keep the Hole in the Hole’ Summer Fest, held in January 2012 at Mike Dumbar’s property – the farmer who has held out against Solid Energy’s plans to buy up land for mining lignite in the Mataura Valley.

Coal Action Murihiku is taking up the challenge of organising another family Summer Fest around lignite and coal issues- focusing on education, fun, forward planning, networking and supporting each other.

Dates: Fri 18 Jan to Mon 21 Jan 2013

Venue: Dolamore Park camping ground and native forest reserve north-west of Gore.

Please put these dates in your diary and plan to come. More details about how to register and programme theme will be advised soon.

5. Asset Sales Campaign: Closing in on the Signature Target

By the end of July, over 200,000 people had signed the petition demanding a Citizens’ Initiated Referendum on the Government’s planned state asset sales.

Approximately 310,000 valid signatures are needed on the petition to ensure that the referendum goes ahead. In that sentence, the word “valid” is the key: signatures will be checked, and because the signatures of people who are not enrolled to vote or whose details do not match their details on the electoral roll will be excluded, the petition needs close to 400,000 total signatures to allow for the expected proportion of invalid signatures.

So there is still plenty of work to do to gather signatures – and you can help by getting involved in collecting signatures and publicising the referendum campaign.

6. Report Launch: A View to the South: Potential Low Carbon Growth Opportunities for the Southern Region Economy

One of the main arguments made by proponents of lignite mining in Southland is that this is Southland’s only path to economic prosperity. So WWF-NZ commissioned BERL Economics to report on low carbon growth opportunities for the Southland economy.

The report, “A View to the South:  Potential Low Carbon Growth Opportunities for the Southern Region Economy” addressed the following questions:

  • What options are available for developing the Southern region’s economy?
  • What employment prospects are available given the wide range of options in the area?
  • How can we thrive and create jobs while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions?

BERL found that hundreds of new jobs and tens of millions of dollars could be generated for the people of Southland without developing the polluting coal industry.

Download the full report from WWF

7. PowerShift 2012

PowerShift 2012 is a conference, jointly organized by Generation Zero and 350, that will bring together 1000 young people (ages 16-30) from around Aotearoa and the Pacific to learn about climate change in a local and regional context and embark on a major climate change campaign. It’s in Auckland from 7-9 December 2012.

Find out more about the conference, to register, or to share information about it with young people you know.

There is a 30% discount on early bird registrations received before 31 September, so get in quick!

8. Mt William North Mine Resource Consent Decision
Lynley Hargreaves writes:

Solid Energy has been granted consent this week for the next in its line of mines marching down the Waimangaroa Valley, Mt William North. At the resource consent hearing the company admitted that it’s future plans for the area would destroy 17 percent of the remaining coal measure ecosystems – irreplaceable sandstone erosion pavements and habitat for threatened species in an area that is almost naturally predator free.

The Hearing Commissioners didn’t take this cumulative impact into account, because they only consider the 243ha mine area currently being applied for. So Solid Energy and Australian company Bathurst Resources can chip away at the Stockton-Denniston Plateaux, applying for a new mine every few years, while openly admitting to thousands of hectares of planned destruction which would compromise the ecological integrity of the entire area.

Two other issues the Commissioners chose not to consider were climate change and ocean acidification. There is an ongoing legal argument over whether climate impacts are excluded from Resource Management Act considerations and because of this the Commissioners chose not to hear about 11.5 million tonnes of CO2 from burning coal from this mine (they could, however, see the prominent elephant in the room).

Ocean acidification, the effect of the ocean’s uptake of CO2, is not part of the legal wrangle over climate change and submitters at the Mt William hearing presented extensive evidence on the issue. The Commissioners chose to disregard this, stating in their decision that ocean acidification is ‘similar in principle’ to climate change and so lies outside the RMA. Groups or individuals have 15 working days to appeal the decision.

West Coast Environment Network would like to thank all those who have made generous donations to help finance the legal fight to include climate change in our overarching environmental legislation. We’re still working to reach our fundraising goal, so if anyone else has spare change for a good cause, please donate to West Coast ENT Incorporated, Kiwibank, 38-9012-0009759-00.

9. Regional reports: Southland, Otago, Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland

Note: A quick way to find contacts of all the regional anti-coal action groups is here.

Southland: Coal Action Murihiku (CAM)

Coal Action Murihiku has continued its hard work in opposition to the lignite, coal seam gas (CSG) and fracking proposals Southland is currently facing. In addition to the announcement that Coal Action Murihiku will be organizing the 2013 successor to the January 2012 Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival – as reported above – Jenny Campbell reports on all the other developments in Southland:

On 14 August, the Riversdale Community Centre was the venue for a community briefing about the Government’s tender process for oil and gas exploration permits in Northern Southland organised by Environment Southland. It was intended to give locals the chance to listen and ask questions about the process and what might follow. About 100 people gathered to hear geologist Brad Ilg, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Petroleum, Strategy, Planning and Promotion Manager, attempt to address concerns by farmers. It was reported that they were unhappy to learn they would have no control over exploration on their land.

A proposed action at the pilot briquette plant opening has CAM members formulating an appropriate response to remind Solid Energy and others that we are serious, will not go away and that their schemes are meeting growing opposition. We are watching them. Commissioning appears to be meeting some obstacles so the date seems to be being pushed out till September.

Rangimarie,

Jenny Campbell, Co- convenor CAM

* Coal Action Murihiku produce excellent monthly newsletters. Check them out online.

Dunedin: Southern Anti-Coal Action (SACA)

Rosemary Penwarden reports on a busy month in Otago, but first, Tarsh Turner has news of a new initiative from CANA and Generation Zero:

CANA and Generation Zero are joining forces in Dunedin to launch a drive to raise awareness about the big plans for Southland lignite, and take action by pressuring the University of Otago to commit to moving away from coal for heating their campus. We have been shocked to learn that the boiler that heats the University often burns lignite, but the good news is there is a report soon to be released, detailing the viability of change and possible alternative heating and power options.

In order to ensure that this report doesn’t slip by unnoticed, we want to show the University Council that the student body is in support of transitioning off coal. We will be kicking this off in September with an event during OUSA Environment Week, and we aim to collect 2,000 signatures supporting our asks. For more info, contact Tarsh at climateninja@gmail.com, or keep an eye out on CANA’s blog!

Here’s Rosemary’s report on a very busy August:

1 August: Oil giant Anadarko Petroleum has delayed drilling in the Canterbury Basin until the summer of 2013. More time to organise!

4 August: A line of people, big and small, held hands along St Clair Beach to say NO to drilling off our coast, in solidarity with other groups all around Aotearoa.

13 August: A large and motivated group of students and helpers met to hear the joint Gen Zero/CANA/SEA launch of the campaign to end coal (and lignite) use by University of Otago. We hope this campaign will grow to eventually include all users of coal in Dunedin – and further.

15 August: Rosemary Penwarden presented an update to Sustainable Dunedin City on Southland lignite, including latest climate science, its relevance to Dunedin, and a few ideas about what we can do.

28-29 August: A group from Dunedin travelled Southland to catch the launch of WWF’s alternative economic strategy for Southland in Invercargill and Drew Hutton’s Lock the Gate talk in Gore.

Wed 12 September:  Just Do It documentary will be screened during Otago Uni’s Environment week.  7pm at The Lounge on Dundas St, next to the church.

“This documentary gives an insiders look at climate change activists in the UK as they employ direct action tactics to stand up to power and make their voices heard. It is funny, personal, and deeply inspiring, and will make you want to get out there and ‘Just Do It!’”

Canterbury: Canterbury Coal Action (CCA)

Rachel Eyre reports:

On 1 August we watched the Australian film Bimblebox at the WEA Centre. (Note: John Adams’ review of the film is below, following the regional reports.)

The CD was provided to our group to watch, courtesy of CANA.

We don’t have a next meeting to promote at this stage but are quietly planning some lobbying of local MPs on coal and climate change issues.

In the meantime if people are interested in getting involved here in Canterbury they should contact Canterbury Coal Action through our gmail: canterburycoalaction@gmail.com

Wellington: “Keep the Coal in the Hole” Gatherings

Tim Jones reports:

The latest “Keep the Coal in the Hole” gathering in Wellington was held on Thursday 16 August. It was a good opportunity to catch up about the wide range of events in August, including the Ka Nui! Enough! Conference which a number of Wellington people went to, Drew Hutton’s “Lock the Gate” tour and the PowerShift Conference for young climate activists being organized by Generation Zero and 350, and the WWF-NZ/BERL report on alternative economic strategies for Southland.

We arranged to meet again on Thursday 18 October at the 350 Office, 22 Allen St. \ To get updated meeting details, please contact frances.mountier@gmail.com.

New Zealand Petroleum Summit protest

The New Zealand oil and gas industry has organised a back-slapping session for itself called the New Zealand Petroleum Summit.

A coalition of groups has formed to oppose this summit and its climate-wrecking, environment-despoiling agenda, and they have organised a protest to leave the assembled delegates in exactly no doubt how unpopular their plans are. Here’s the initial announcement – watch out for further details:

Calling everyone to protest against the NZ Petroleum Summit. Wednesday 19th September, 5pm, outside the Amora Hotel, 170 Wakefield St.  Please watch this space for further details.  Noise makers, placards and children welcome.

Auckland: Auckland Coal Action

Jill Whitmore reports:

This month Auckland Coal Action has worked on developing a PowerPoint presentation on coal and climate change, and those thinking of speaking are preparing their talks to which it can be adapted, as we are planning an outreach information campaign. We will also campaign for a coal-free Auckland, first analysing which organisations in the Auckland area (besides the Glenbrook steel mill – we’ll leave that till later!) are still burning coal in boilers etc, and will then try to persuade these organisations to switch away from coal to more sustainable fuel e.g. wood pellets.

One of our members has succeeded in getting a number of good letters published in the Herald.

On Friday 17 August we ran another film evening, showing the very interesting Australian documentary Gas Rush, with Jeanette Fitzsimons talking about the dangerous potentials of further unrestrained fossil fuel development. The audience this time was fewer, mainly members and known supporters, but we enjoyed the evening in a pleasant venue and the refreshments. The proceeds of over $400 will be shared between the Denniston appeal and ACA’s own needs.

Next meeting, all welcome: Saturday 1 September, at the Quaker house, 113 Mt Eden Rd, 1-4pm.

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:

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

Regards

Jill Whitmore

10. Film Review: Bimblebox

Canterbury Coal Action screened the documentary Bimblebox on 1 August. John Adams of Canterbury Coal Action has kindly reviewed the film for us:

Bimblebox is a challenge.  It’s a documentary movie based on Australian coal and coal seam gas expansion and the community responses to that expansion.  If that sounds dry, then you need to watch the film, because it’s surprisingly emotional.

Bimblebox itself is a nature reserve in inland Queensland, described by an ecologist as being indicative of wilderness Australia.  The family that farms nearby has an agreement with the Government that the reserve will be managed in perpetuity for its wildlife values.  But the agreement is worthless now that coal has been found.  The whole area is in line for open cast mining.

The action shifts to the Hunter Valley and to the Darling Downs where communities and food-growing land are threatened by the expansion of mines.

Further afield the film shows the effect on the corals of the Great Barrier Reef and on Aboriginal sacred sites that stand in the way of the diggers.

Any Kiwi audience would be quick to draw parallels with Denniston (indicative of wilderness New Zealand) and Mataura (communities and food growing land) as well as tangata whenua concepts of turangawaewae and “sense of place”.

So it’s not just an Aussie film – it’s for us all.

What is frightening is the scale of the proposals and the power of the developers – they appear to have the support of the governments in Australia and in China.  Against them is a small, informal coalition of farmers, mothers, students and tribal leaders.  What hope can they have?

I was lucky enough to watch the film at a screening organised by Canterbury Coal Action, so I knew I was surrounded by like-minded people.  What hope can we have?

The answer, from the film and from our own knowledge is that we have hope because we know that what we are doing is right.  The film gives us something more:  one person in the audience, with a tear in her eye, said “It makes me so angry!”  Maybe some anger is what we gain from watching Bimblebox.

So Bimblebox is a challenge.  It’s challenging to watch because you want to cry, or to help.  But it challenges us to step up our efforts for a just transition to a coal free future.

John Adams

Note: if you want to screen Bimblebox in your region, email us at CANA and we can get mail it to you.

11. News and Resources

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is investigating the link between climate change and increased earthquakes and vulcanism. That should concern New Zealanders – and it’s a great prompt for Letters to the Editor:
  •  In case you missed it, the summer ice melt in the Arctic has broken all records, already.  There’s still a couple of weeks left before the summer minimum, so this year’s low will be even worse.  Check out the daily updates at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)  The Guardian’s George Monbiot’s take on it is pretty good.
  • Meanwhile, if you weren’t clear on the climate science, we suggest you read the American Meteorological Society’s latest update, adopted on August 20:  “There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities.”

12.  Australia update

While Australia is facing a much bigger onslaught on coal, it’s inspiring to know what’s been going on over there.

Output from coal-fired power stations is down 10 per cent.

The Government has pulled funding for a new HRL coal plant proposed for Victoria, after a concerted community campaign.  Renew Economy has a good summary of Australia and new coal.

Possibly off-topic (fracking), but so inspiring:  locals this week finished a nine-day blockade of Dart Energy’s coal seam gas plant at Fullerton Cove, Newcastle.

But all is not great over there:  mining magnate Gina Rinehart has just received go-ahead for her Alpha Coal mine in Queensland – a mine that will produce 30 Megatonnes of coal a year, shipped out through the Great Barrier Reef.

13. Are You Team Twitter Or Team Facebook?

The section of the newsletter where we list our social media channels might be seen as a little boring, so why not spice it up with some spurious Twilight-style competition? Right now, it’s a close race between CANA’s Facebook group and Twitter account to see who can gain the most followers. At the time of writing, our Facebook group and our Twitter account both have 549 followers!

Who’ll win? CANA will, as we build up the reach of our social media channels.

The good news about this little competition is that you can be on both sides. If you’re on Facebook and haven’t already done so, please join our group and invite your friends. If you’re on Twitter, please follow @coalaction, RT our tweets, and encourage your Twitter followers to follow us too.

A Facebook page we encourage you to Like is Leave the Lignite, Save the Soil.

Say No To Fracking in NZ also has a Facebook group.

Visit our Blog

14. 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

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter July 2012

Kia Ora Koutou

As we know, the Government and the mining industry have launched a coordinated assault on New Zealand’s environment and on the land, health and water of communities and iwi around the country.

A coordinated assault requires a coordinated response, and that’s what will be happening in August. First, people opposed to mining in its various guises will be gathering in Rotorua on 25-26 August for Ka Nui / Enough!, a counter-conference to the mining industry conference also happening in Rotorua. If you want to be there, email kanuiconference@gmail.com for details.

One of the participants in the conference will be Drew Hutton of Australia’s Lock the Gate Alliance. If you can’t make it to Rotorua, Drew will be touring the country in late August – check out the dates below.

Our campaign continues to build all around the country, and we welcome a new group, Coal Action Waikato, to our roundup of news from regional groups.

Enough of introducing the news – time to let you read it!

Regards
Tim Jones
Coal Action Network Aotearoa

What’s in this newsletter?

1. Coming Events 2. Ka Nui / Enough! Conference in Rotorua, 25-26 August 3. Drew Hutton Tour: Lock the Gate!
4. Asset Sales Campaign: The Big Push for Signatures Is On
5. Thermal boilers update: EECA heat plant database and Fonterra’s very bad decision in Darfield
6. Climate Change and the Resource Management Act: An Update and a Fundraising Plea
7. Regional reports: Waikato, Auckland, Wellington, Motueka, Takaka, Christchurch, Dunedin and Southland
8. Just Transition: Moving Away from Coal
9.  News and Resources
10. CANA online: Blog, Facebook and Twitter
11. How To Donate To CANA

1. COMING EVENTS 

1 August: Canterbury Coal Action Bimblebox film screening, 7.30pm, WEA, Gloucester St.Bimblebox website.

4 August: Hands Across the Sands (nationwide/worldwide)

4 August: Hands Across the Sand action at the Janie Seddon Shipwreck, Motueka Quay, noon

5 August and 19 August: Nonviolent direct action workshops, Takaka. Contact rojoanna@ihug.co.nz or see below under “Regional Reports” for details.

16 August: “Keep the Coal in the Hole” meeting, Wellington, 6-9pm, 18-24 Allen St

22-29 August: Drew Hutton Tour

25-26 August: Ka Nui / Enough! Conference, Rotorua

5-7 October: Ecumenical Environmental Conference, Wellington.

Continue reading

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter June 2012

Kia ora koutou,

It’s been another busy month for the campaign against new and expanded coalmining – of course, that’s true of every month!

This month, we take a look at what Solid Energy has been up to lately, and their future plans – both what has been released publicly, and some inside information that we’ve acquired.

The coal industry is clearly getting nervous about the pressure that anti-coal campaigns are putting on them. Mining industry lobby group Straterra spent a portion of its PR budget writing a pro-coal article for the Christchurch Press, to which we promptly responded. The coal industry is easily annoyed – so we’ve included a helpful guide to good ways of annoying them.

We’ve also got information on how you can get involved in the campaign for a Citizens’ Initiated Referendum on asset sales, and campaign news and events from round the country.

Our May newsletter was our first to be sent out using the MailChimp mailing list software. If you had any problems reading that newsletter, please let us know by emailing coalactionnetwork@gmail.com so we can iron out any problems.

Regards
Tim Jones
Coal Action Network Aotearoa

Contents

1. Coming Events
2. Asset Sales Campaign Update: Referendum Signatures and July Day of Action
3. Solid Energy Watch
4. How To Annoy The Coal Industry
5. Coal Seam Gas: New Threat to Taranaki and Southland
6. Climate Change, The Courts And The Mt William North Hearing
7. Forest and Bird Annual Conference 2012 Report
8. Regional News
9. News Snippets and Resources
10. CANA online: Blog, Facebook and Twitter
11. How To Donate To CANA

1. Coming Events

Asset Sales Campaign Day of ActionSaturday 14 July. See http://aotearoaisnotforsale.com/ for details.

Remaining Denniston Tour Events
There are two events remaining on Rod Morris’s speaking tour about the need to preserve the Denniston Plateau from coal mining:
*26 June, Te Anau: details TBA
*10 July, Invercargill: 7.30pm, Invercargill Masonic Lodge, 86 Forth St

Regional Group Meetings
Canterbury Coal Action: Unfortunately, Wednesday’s Canterbury Coal Action meeting at the WEA has had to be cancelled due to venue unavailability – please contact canterburycoalaction@gmail.com for details of the next meeting
Auckland Coal Action: Saturday 14 July, Quaker House, 113 Mt Eden Rd, 10am. New members welcome.

Conferences and Tours
6-8 July: ECO Conference, Wellington. See http://www.eco.org.nz/what-we-do/eco-conference-2012-2.html for details. Early bird registration has been extended until 2 July.
18-26 August: Tour by Drew Hutton from Lock the Gates Alliance. Locations to be finalised. CANA is supporting this tour.
25-26 August: Keep this weekend free in your diaries as there will be a conference in Rotorua on the alternatives to mining – details to follow.

Ecumenical Environmental Conference
5-7 October, St John’s in the City, Wellington. See http://lamenthopeactionconference.eventbrite.co.nz/ for details. Organised by Caritas, A Rocha and the Otago University Centre for Theology and Public Issues

2. Asset Sales Campaign

a) Getting the Numbers: How You Can Help The Asset Sales Referendum Campaign
As you may have heard, signatures are currently being collected for a petition calling for a Citizens’ Initiated Referendum (CIR) against the Government’s proposed asset sales. If the petition gets enough valid signatures, the Government cannot prevent the referendum from being held.

From a Coal Action Network Aotearoa perspective, we are most concerned about the planned privatisation of Solid Energy, which may allow them to raise investment capital for their planned massive lignite projects in Southland. Solid Energy is towards the back of the queue for privatisation. That means that, even if some asset sales have occurred by the time the referendum takes place, we should do everything we can to mobilise political opposition to the remaining sales.

The wording of the referendum question will be:

Do you support the Government selling up to 49 per cent of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?

For the referendum to go ahead, the promoters of the referendum need to obtain over 300,000 valid signatures on the petition – that is, the signatures of people who are on the electoral roll, with their name and address details listed as they are on the electoral roll.

That makes collecting signatures a job that has to be done carefully and well. And that’s why we’d like Coal Action Network Aotearoa supporters to help with the signature-gathering process.

You can do so by going to the Keep Our Assets website at http://keepourassets.org.nz/. This is where you can download the petition form, and find out how to get more involved in the campaign at
http://keepourassets.org.nz/help-build-the-campaign/.

Christchurch event information is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/254862264628627/

If you have already signed the AVAAZ petition against the bill that is currently going through Parliament, you should still sign the Citizens’ Initiated Referendum petition as well. Passing the bill does not sell the assets – it just makes it legally possible. It will still take months after that before they can float companies on the sharemarket.

Solid Energy does enough damage as it is. Let’s make it as difficult as possible for the Government to make matters even worse. Recent events show that this Government will buckle when sufficient political pressure is exerted on them.

b) 14 July 2012: “Aotearoa Is Still Not For Sale” Day of Action
There’s another day of action coming up for the Aotearoa is Not For Sale campaign, as announced on http://aotearoaisnotforsale.com/ :

“Aotearoa NZ is STILL not for sale!” All around the country, we will be putting aside past differences and showing the strength of the people as one on July 14, 2012.

Saturday July 14 will see a march and people’s festival with stalls and music happening in Auckland from 2pm, meeting at Britomart and marching with defiance up Queen Street to reclaim our streets once more. We will bring the march to Myers Park to enjoy festivities into the late afternoon. We warmly call upon all other areas of Aotearoa New Zealand to organise actions on this day as well, and coordinate with the Auckland group using this website to gain support, inspiration and information.

Check the http://aotearoaisnotforsale.com/ website for details of actions around the country, or go to the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AotearoaIsNotForSaleNZ

3. Solid Energy Watch

The campaign against Solid Energy’s planned massive lignite mining and processing plants in Southland is central to Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s strategy as a whole, because if Solid Energy’s plans for massive lignite-to-urea and lignite-to-diesel plants go ahead, the mining and burning of this low-grade brown coal will lead to billions of tonnes of additional greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, of course, coal mining is bad for local communities, bad for the local environment, and bad for human health.

So what’s been going on in Southland? On the one hand, Solid Energy has been getting on with building its pilot briquetting plant in Craigs Road, about 5km south of Mataura. On the other hand, Southland anti-coal activists have come together under the banner of Coal Action Murihiku, which held its launch on Anzac Day this year, and are building the anti-lignite campaign both in front of and behind the scenes.

Check out the Coal Action Murihiku report below under Regional Reports for more news on the growth of the anti-lignite campaign. For now, let’s turn the spotlight on Solid Energy itself and its plans.

a) Inside information on Solid Energy’s plans
We recently acquired some inside information about Solid Energy’s plans. Such information must always be taken with several teaspoons of salt, but is interesting nevertheless.
Apparently, construction of the pilot briquetting plant is due to finish in about a month. Then it will go into a commissioning’ stage and that will take another month – so the opening is still a couple of months away.

According to our source, the next phase of work will be the lignite to urea plant. Our source did not mention the 10x bigger briquetting plant that Solid Energy had previously said it was planning, though the source may be out of the loop with regards to this particular plant.

It’s still not decided whether the new mine to feed this plant will be at Croydon or Mataura. Our source claims that this mine is expected to be just a bit bigger than New Vale but will be dug up and emptied much faster, then covered up as they move on to digging the next area up – thus gradually ploughing its way through Eastern Southland’s prime farmland. Solid Energy expect that they will need 200 workers for the mine and another 150 workers for the plant – but that’s a few years away at least, even on Solid Energy’s timeline.

If you have any interesting news for us, about Solid Energy’s plans or anything else, please feel free to email us at coalactionnetwork@gmail.com.

b) The Shrinking Jobs Bonanza
It’s funny how the claimed number of jobs to be created by Solid Energy’s Southland lignite projects keeps going down. Lignite boosters were tossing around job numbers in the high thousands when the plans were first announced – now, even our Solid Energy insider is talking about 350 jobs total from the lignite-to-urea project.
And how many jobs for locals is the pilot briquetting plant expected to create? Five. That’s right, five jobs. Welcome to the lignite jobs bonanza, everyone!

c) New Exploration Licence
Not content with the 4000ha they already control, Solid Energy has been granted additional lignite exploration licences south and east of their current ones, and near the area where L&M mining have exploration licences – see https://data.nzpam.govt.nz/PermitWebMaps/StaticReport.aspx?permit=54004 for the details. And, as noted below under “Coal Seam Gas”, they are also prospecting for coal seam gas in Southland.

d) John Palmer Steps Down as Solid Energy Board Chair
Solid Energy board chairperson John Palmer has stepped down, saying that he doesn’t want to stay on to see the company through the privatisation process. It would be lovely to think that this is because he’s ideologically opposed to privatisation, but in fact he’s been one of its chief proponents. The story is here: http://www.3news.co.nz/Solid-Energy-chairman-quits-at-65/tabid/423/articleID/258829/Default.aspx

Maybe Don Elder will take this as a sign he should step down as well…

4. How To Annoy The Coal Industry

Like any well-funded industry group, the coal industry is used to having things its own way. They have easy access to their mates in Government, plenty of money to splash around, and a bunch of well-appointed head offices that are sufficiently removed from their mining operations that they don’t have to encounter the ugliness of what coal mining actually entails.So it’s not surprising that they get annoyed when people challenge them. And we think it would be a good idea if they got annoyed more often. Here is our handy guide to annoying the coal lobby.

a) Challenge Their PR Spin
When a coal industry flack uses the media to claim that coal mining is vital to New Zealand’s future, that our energy system would fall over without coal, that nowadays coal is all clean and modern and shiny, etc., don’t let them get away with it. Write letters or comments in response, and let us know about coal industry PR so we can prepare a response.

Case in point: The following article by mining industry lobbyist Chris Baker appeared in the Christchurch Press on 13 June: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/perspective/7092765/Coal-helps-fire-economy

Canterbury Coal Action got in touch to let CANA know about the article, and we prepared a response which appeared the following Wednesday, 20 June: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/perspective/7134638/Coal-mining-catastrophe

If the coal industry pops up in your local media telling everyone how wonderful coal is, let us know by emailing coalactionnetwork@gmail.com

b) Show Up Where They Show Up
The coal industry doesn’t just fill newspaper column inches – it arranges events for itself as well, like lovely conferences in popular resorts, or Prime Ministerial office openings: https://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/bathurst-protest-a-big-success/.

Call us party-poopers, but we like to turn up at such events and remind the insiders and hangers-on who attend these things that the real issue isn’t the quality of the canapés but the fate of the planet, and that the expansion of their industry must be and will be stopped. So, if you find out that there is a coal industry event in your area, get busy. Organise a welcome for those attending that reminds them what the real issues are, and again, let CANA know: coalactionnetwork@gmail.com.

c) Bring It All Back Home
The coal industry in New Zealand is not all about massive projects for export. It’s also about the coal-fired boiler in your local school or hospital or factory. Getting these boilers converted to run on a renewable energy source such as wood is good for the local environment, good for the renewable fuels industry, and good for the climate. It also gives campaigners all around the country, even those who live a long way from the big coal projects, a local focus. If you are interested in finding out more about coal use in your community, let us know: coalactionnetwork@gmail.com.

5. Coal Seam Gas: New Threat to Taranaki and Southland

Solid Energy is talking up the potential of coal seam gas: that is, deliberately releasing the potent greenhouse gas methane from coal seams. Many coal seam gas operations use fracking.
Does that sound like your idea of a good time? Well, if you live in Taranaki or Southland, Solid Energy plans to bring coal seam gas to your doorstep.

6. Climate change, the courts and the Mt William North hearing

a) The Mt William North Hearing: Ignorance, Intimidation and Elephants
Rosemary Penwarden wrote this excellent report on the Mt William North coal mine consent hearings, which you can also see on our blog – with pictures – at https://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/the-mt-william-north-hearings-ignorance-intimidation-and-elephants/:

Sharon McGarry thinks carbon dioxide makes holes in the ozone layer.

No, not a year nine science student but a commissioner; one of three in Westport recently entrusted with the task of unravelling the scientific and economic data pertinent to the next mountaintop removal on the Stockton Plateau –Mt William North.

The realisation that Ms McGarry did not have even a basic grasp of the science behind climate change was a shock, but the whole experience of submitting at this council hearing was a series of curious events.

I was at the Westport Bridge Club to speak to my submission opposing Solid Energy’s proposal to mine 5.4 million tonnes of new coal at Mt William. If mined, this coal will send approximately 13 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, widen even more the gap between reality and our international emissions obligations, further shred our clean green image, and destroy more endangered flora and fauna on the plateau.

Less than two weeks before the hearing submitters received a letter telling us that, due to the recent Environment Court declaration, the commissioners were “not able to have regard to any evidence or submissions concerning the effects on climate change of discharges into air arising from the subsequent burning of coal.”

Yes, that’s right, our supreme environmental statute, the RMA, is legally unable to consider the greatest environmental threat facing humanity; climate change. Even though this ruling is under appeal the commissioners chose not to delay the Mt William hearing.

Some of us still spoke about climate change, understanding it would be ignored. We also talked about ocean acidification, another effect of CO2 emissions not ruled out in the commissioner’s letter. With a wave of her arm Ms McGarry dismissed such talk: “We all know CO2 makes holes in the ozone”. After a short silence of disbelief it became clear that ocean acidification was also going to be banned, along with climate change. Curious how the rules appeared to change as the day progressed.

Curious too, was the presence of 20 or so Solid Energy workers in the back of the room dressed in orange safety gear and boots. They looked a little out of place accepting tea and bikkies from the lovely Bridge Club lady.

Then again, those of us opposing the proposal had brought our own curious sight – an elephant, sitting in the front row taking notes, dreads tied neatly back. At lunchtime he stood outside the entrance with a placard “Say NO to New Coal Extraction” while an orange-coated ‘worker’ shovelled coal under a carpet and a large banner explained to passers by and to the orange-garbed Solid Energy workers: “Climate Change is the Elephant in the Room”.

Standing nearby taking photographs was yet another curious sight – a dark suited character straight out of an American crime show. It turned out he worked for ProVision, also called Thompson and Clark Investigations Ltd, the agency caught out in 2007 for planting spies in the ranks of the Happy Valley protesters – paid for by Solid Energy: see http://www.nickyhager.info/i-was-paid-to-betray-protesters/

Opposers to Solid Energy’s application had been allocated the whole day to speak. We represented individuals and groups, locals and ‘outsiders’, whitebaiters, grandmothers, doctors and environmentalists.

I did not get my turn until the following morning. By then the workers in their safety gear had gone, replaced by Solid Energy’s demurely attired ecologist. No shady character outside. It seemed the commissioners needed only hear one more ‘pesky’ environmentalist, then get back to business. I had come 700 km to speak on behalf of myself and two other submitters, but the commissioners wanted to dismiss my second and third submissions without even hearing them. After I finished, as I left the room I could see it being cosily re-arranged so the Commissioners and their “friends” could finish the hearing in a more informal setting.

Then it was the local councils’ turn. I don’t hold out much hope for the councils; they don’t seem to take climate change that seriously. New developments are permitted at sea level all along the Coast. The Regional Council’s own fancy new building at Greymouth appears to rely on a few sand dunes to combat sea level rise.

The next day I visited Mordor (Stockton) itself, stood on black sludge 30 metres below where Mt Augustus should have been – mountaintop removal, Kiwi style. I looked over to Happy Valley, now renamed the Cypress Extension in an attempt to erase its colourful history of protest. The contrast between that untouched valley, the mountain beyond, and the hell below my feet was distressing. The land reclamation is a joke. Up there, anything at an angle greater than 16 degrees gets washed away. You can’t put a mountain back.

Beyond Happy Valley sat Mt William. Mt William, the next mountain top removal project. Or not? Will Sharon McGarry save the day?

b) Denniston Legal Action Update

Jeanette Fitzsimons reports:

Following the Environment Court decision that climate change can not be taken into account in RMA decisions, the appeal against the consent for the Denniston mine is set to proceed in the Environment Court in late October. The appeal will be mainly on the grounds of loss of very special biodiversity and landscape; plus possibly some economics argument.

Thus the elephant in the room – the huge threat to people and nature from accelerating climate change – will remain silent. This means consent could be given and mining started while appeals on the legal question are still to be heard – in the Court of Appeal and possibly the Supreme Court. Potentially the Environment Court appeal against the consent could have to be heard all over again if a higher court overturns the decision on the relevance of climate change to the decision. Alice in Wonderland, anyone?

7. Forest and Bird Annual Conference 2012 Report

The Forest and Bird Annual Conference 2012, with the theme “Face Up to the Future”, was held in Wellington in mid-June. You can find out lots about the conference on the Forest & Bird website at http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/conference2012

CANA had a stall at the conference and distributed leaflets and flyers to Conference delegates. CANA’s Tarsh Turner was one of the speakers featured in the conference “Face up to the Future” video, hosted by Te Radar – you can find the full video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2YtRcictBQ, while Tarsh’s contribution starts at 2:11 – http://youtu.be/t2YtRcictBQ?t=2m11s.
CANA organizing group member Jenny Campbell was in the room to hear Tarsh speak, and here are her impressions of the event, followed by Tarsh’s own thoughts.

Jenny Campbell writes:
I was privileged to be at Forest and Bird’s national conference in Wellington last weekend, held at Te Papa.

The highlight for me was the Friday evening panel of young people stating their case and passion about and for the environment, all ably facilitated by Te Radar. Even though he made light of many comments, the seriousness of the conversations and issues did not escape him. He had obviously done his homework and could interact and challenge the panel as well as add constructive comments which ensured the messages from the young people were not lost on the audience.

Our CANA organising group member, Tarsh Turner, spoke eloquently and with conviction about her stand on the lignite issue and particularly as it relates to climate change. Her initial nervousness soon dissipated as she entered the debates, offered her opinions, listened to others, offered alternatives and stressed the need for change. She did us proud of course and even when she spoke about what makes her angry and on the topic of intergenerational justice/injustice, she continued to win the audience with her beautiful smile.

My overall impression was of the high calibre of young people we have working with conviction, enthusiasm and knowledge who are not afraid to tell it how it is. This generation is not about meetings but about action – galvanised to take action through social media – not necessarily through lots of talking. We in CANA need to heed this message. The wisdom, insight, humour and listening skills of the panel were impressive. Thank you Tarsh for being prepared to participate and drive our message home – you were impressive!

This model of engagement is one we could well use at other events – particularly with young people although the facilitator needs to be particularly skilled as Te Radar obviously is. It was telling that another young person in the audience reminded us all that the grey haired people in the room had been angry, frustrated and felt intergenerational injustice as well in their youth, and that this was why many had joined F&B in their youth – to do something with their anger to make a difference, and that was why they were still participating today.

Kia kaha Tarsh, rangimarie, Jenny Campbell

Tarsh Turner writes:
Participating on the Youth Panel at the Forest & Bird Conference was an empowering experience. My fellow panellists were some of the most articulate young people I have met, and we had a lively two hour discussion canvassing issues as seemingly disparate as shark finning, declining water quality in NZ rivers, pest management, and intergenerational justice.

Despite this breadth, I think I must have gotten across my message about the urgent need to phase out coal, because when we were asked in the question session what it is that makes each of us angry, Te Radar quipped “let me guess, is it coal that makes you angry Tarsh?”

The opportunity to bring this discussion into the conservation context was something that meant a lot to me. It is a crucially important link to make, given projections such as that 200-300 of New Zealand’s alpine plant species will become extinct at a 4°C mean global temperature rise; we are currently on track for a 3-6°C rise, and the world has enough economically recoverable coal to increase global temperature by 15°C! I hope to engage with Forest & Bird further on these issues in the future.

For more, see Tarsh’s blog: http://climateninja.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/fb-conference-nature-of-tommorow-youth-panel-4-2/

Concluding note:
Forest and Bird and CANA have worked closely together on a number of campaigns in the past year, together with other groups, especially the campaign against further coal mining on the Denniston plateau, and the organisation of the Bathurst Resources Wellington office opening protest (see https://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/bathurst-protest-a-big-success/). We look forward to carrying on this association in the years ahead.

8. Regional News

Southland: Coal Action Murihiku (CAM)

Jenny Campbell reports:

Three posters featuring a painting by local artist, Wallace Keown, are drawing attention from passers-by on the main street of Gore. The art work compares the past and present attractions of the Mataura Valley with the future ‘attractions’ (courtesy of lignite mining), along with strong messages about our valuable farmland. They have been put on three long poster strips and pasted up on a large billboard. Good local publicity followed just before Queen’s Birthday and Gore’s huge annual event, the Gold Guitars.

CAM’s regular monthly meetings show that members have no shortage of bright ideas for ways to make their point about lignite mining.

Recently, CAM, Forest & Bird, Generation Zero and Greenpeace members of all ages got together for a working bee spent chopping and splitting wood that will be sold as a fundraiser. Robina and Alan Johnston took people up to a vantage point from where they could see the huge swathe of farmland that Solid Energy is proposing to destroy with an open cast lignite mine.

Solid Energy has increased its infiltration and influence in the Gore area with massive sponsorship of local events: NZSO members making school visits for music tuition, Sir Graham Henry speaking engagements, sports uniforms, Gold Guitar… It puts CAM’s wood-splitting efforts into perspective and shows how long and hard this campaign will be. We realise pacing ourselves is important.

CAM members Dave Kennedy, Robina-Lee Johnston and Zella Horrell showed PowerPoints and spoke to the Southland Forest & Bird monthly meeting in early June. They spoke about the Southland concerns around lignite, the urgency for action and local impacts especially about loss of valuable farmland. The mining situation and impacts in Australia were highlighted. They intend to take their ‘show’ to various community groups around Southland, e.g. Lions, Rotary, Rural Women, U3A, to raise awareness and provide educational information in contrast to Solid Energy.

Our first regular CAM newsletter has been put together for circulation with skilled people stepping up to the mark. Our next event will be our NVDA (nonviolent direct action) training weekend in Invercargill at the end of June, run by CANA organising group member Kristin Gillies.

The opening of the pilot briquetting plant at Mataura is the next event of interest to our group. A total of 5 local people from Gore, Mataura and Invercargill have been employed by SE (plant costs $25 k) and SE are proud they are supporting local employment as they said they would!!!

I was in Whangarei recently and heard of their real concerns about proposed mining in Northland and what it would do to their waterways, oceans, people re health, social impacts, soil and was impressed with their efforts to fight these proposals. Rod Morris’ slide show on Denniston was impressive as he stressed the intrinsic values of that area and why it should not be mined. I updated people on the lignite issue in Southland – being a ‘guest speaker’ had not been my aim but thank you to the generosity of the organisers for this chance to show solidarity and share our campaigns: we are in this together for the long haul.

Rangimarie,
Jenny Campbell, Co-Convenor, CAM

Dunedin: Southern Anti-Coal Action (SACA)
Rosemary Penwarden and Tarsh Turner report:

One thousand Dunedinites marched up George Street to the Octagon on Saturday 16 June to protest against the Government’s plan to sell our state owned assets: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/213635/over-moon-keep-our-assets-protest-draws-1000

Heaps more signatures were collected and work continues to gather the 300,000 needed for the Citizens Initiated Referendum to go ahead.
.
A bunch of SEA (Students for Environmental Action) and SACA members are having an adventure over the Uni holidays (first week of July) to see the Denniston Plateau in all its glory before it becomes NZ’s largest open cast coal mine! The aim is to connect with this area that we have been campaigning on, experience its beauty firsthand, and have a fun break away. Transport is limited, but people should email SEAotago@gmail.com if interested.

On Saturday 14 July, Tarsh Turner will be speaking on behalf of CANA at SocialistSaturday, an event organised by the International Socialists (ISO), on a panel about confronting the environmental crisis.Email contact@iso.org.nzor phone 022 6799417 for more details.

On Wednesday 18 July, Rosemary Penwarden will speak on behalf of CANA at the SDC (Sustainable Dunedin City) AGM, updating members on the Southland lignite issue, venue to be announced.

Christchurch: Canterbury Coal Action

Unfortunately, Wednesday’s Canterbury Coal Action meeting at the WEA has had to be cancelled due to venue unavailability – please contact canterburycoalaction@gmail.com for details of the next meeting.

Wellington: “Keep the Coal in the Hole” gatherings
Tim Jones reports:

The next meeting of the “Keep the Coal in the Hole” Wellington group will be on Thursday 28 June, around the time this newsletter goes out. We’ll be learning more about the transition to renewable energy sources and planning our next moves. We expect to have more to report in the next newsletter.

If you’d like to get involved in Wellington anti-coal action, please contact frances.mountier@gmail.com for further details.

Auckland: Auckland Coal Action
Jill Whitmore reports:

Auckland Coal Action’s main activity for the month has been gearing up for an all-day strategy session, to be held on 7 July (regular members only).

The film evening which we put on last month raised even more than previously reported – $921 by the time sales of wine and juice were included, so we were able to send $1000 to the Denniston appeal.

Next monthly meeting: Saturday 14th July, at the Quaker House, 113 Mt Eden Rd. New members welcome. We will be starting the meeting at 10am in order to allow us to join the anti-Asset-Sales march later in the day.

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

9. News and Resources

10. CANA Blog

CANA’s blog is at https://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.

See boxes below for Facebook and Twitter.

11. 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

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: https://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: https://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: https://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:https://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: https://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 https://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