web analytics

Calling coal to account

Written By: - Date published: 11:17 am, March 26th, 2008 - 18 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, economy - Tags: , ,

coal.jpgNew Zealand’s coal industry is a mess of contradictions. We worry about carbon emissions and Kyoto while State-owned Solid Energy exports coal to dirty Chinese factories. Rather than being energy-efficiently shipped out of Greymouth, coal from the West Coast is taken by rail over the Southern Alps because taxpayer-subsidised Toll gives SOE Solid Energy and Pike River a cut-price deal to haul the coal to Lyttelton for export. Meanwhile, we are importing coal from Indonesia for Huntly.

Greenpeace did a great job yesterday of highlighting the stupidity of these arrangements and the government’s lack of commitment on climate change by blockading the Hellenic Sea with its load of Solid energy coal (bound for France of all places) in Lyttelton harbour. Their blog account of the protest is here .

Unfortunately, that story has been tarnished by reports that while 30 Police officers were diverted from Christchurch to arrest the Greenpeace activists, a single officer received minor injuries trying to break up a brawl in the city. It is unfair to blame Greenpeace for this incident. Yes, they broke the law but the Police overreacted by sending so many officers to what they knew would be a peaceful protest. There were only six arrests, which were not resisted, and the only charges were obstruction and unlawfully getting onto a boat.

The coal industry, the Government, and the Police should review their policies in the wake of this protest action. Keep up the good work, Greenpeace.

18 comments on “Calling coal to account”

  1. Steve, I completely agree. Coal is a terrible product.
    We should all cut our throats. I am sure the rest of the planet will follow the enormous dirty polluter NZ.
    The environment will not be as big an issue for the election as it could have been.
    People struggling to pay the bills is the only big issue this election.

  2. People struggling to pay the bills is the only big issue this election.

    Yep – and that means higher wages. Something the right will resist as much as possible.

  3. Steve Pierson 3

    barnsley. what if we cut income taxes significantly, and instead, the State gets revenue by auctioning off the right to extract non-renewable resources and to pollute

  4. insider 4

    You show little understanding of the industry. The contradictions are mainly of your own construction.

    The coal imported from indonesia is lower grade power station coal. Waikato coal is not as available as it was when Huntly was developed. WC coal is not suitable.

    The coal exported from the west coast is mainly high grade anthracite coking coal mainly used for steel manufacture. India is also a major buyer and Japan in the past. It is a very valuable resource which there is no reason not to exploit.

    Why would you export from Greymouth – a dangerous shallow port that may not always be accessible when you have existing good links to a deepwater port? You have no evidence that it would be more environmentally friendly to export from Greymouth. It was requiring a major investment to even make it physically possible. And the coal was being barged to Taranaki for ship loading!

    It is not unfair to blame GP. They have a history of breaking the law and invading other’s property to disrupt their operations both here and overseas. There is also the safety issue to consider in a working port. I don’t see why the ratepayers and taxpayers of NZ should sit back and have the businesses they own be interfered with to aid GP’s self serving publicity seeking operations.

    The real contradiction is the govt owning solid energy. It is hardly a strategic asset -the resource is owned by the crown and the govt doesn’t own any other form of miners like oil, gold etc – and it could be privatised easily given prices for coal are high. Pike River was oversubscribed. It then wouldn;t carry the risk of it being devalued due to climate change policies.

  5. andy 5

    Greenpeace have no moral authority left in NZ after smashing a hole in the French Americas Cup yacht.

    While they play games and attract the media, more police resources required for their safety, they forget sometimes the police have to protect us from each other. They had to protect the protesters from the workers on the boat. I bet they didn’t know they intended to be peaceful.

    3 people on the ship, a couple of zodiacs, could have been terrorists. Our police are not mind readers. Next time your car gets stolen or your TV and the police can’t attend ask greenpeace to help!

  6. Steve Pierson 6

    andy. bro, Greenpeace notified the media of their protest once it got underway. I’ll bet they also got in contact with the Police to let them know that the disturbance in Lyttelton harbour was them. At any rate, the Police knew it was Greenpeace, not terrorists, within minutes thanks to the fact it was the bloody Rainbow Warrior that was in the Hellenic Sea’s way.

    insider. I’m aware that those are different grades of coal moving in and out of new zealand, but that is only a problem because we choose to use a different grade of coal than the one we have here.

    I think the crown owns the gold and all mineral resources – given that they are public property, shouldn’t a public comapny manage their extraction. And why would we sell a profitable company, especially when that further removes it from government regarding cliamte change policy?

  7. insider 7

    No Steve, you’re effectively suggesting that because it is local it can be used for anything, when it’s actually horses for courses because the coals have different properties and so different performance and different values. It’s like putting race fuel in a 15 year old jap import family wagon. It might work, but it will be bloody expensive and hard to get in the quantities you want.

    Why would the govt get involved in a business that is not “essential” and where there are perfectly competent operators? There are far more essential services it does not own. What value would the govt add that industry doesn’t? None that I can see.

    Why sell? well quite simply because it may be at the top of the market and it is ptentially going to damage the business’s value with policy changes. Are you saying it is a wise use of taxpayer money to hold onto an asset that could be devalued by your own actions?

    PS Crown Minerals does in effect manage the use of resources by giving licences.

  8. Steve Pierson 8

    I’ld have to look into it but I’m sure I reember seeing in the energy report that we export some of the same grade coal that we import, and tha’ts not all too surprising because these are companies operating on individual deals rather than a broader economic or social logic.

    re. crown minerals, yeah I would like to see that licencing system extended, with rights for all kinds of resource use (water fish stocks, carbon, other pollutants, minerals, etc) auctioned off, and used as a revenue stream to partially replace income tax. As with a cap and trade system it has the attraction over a resource tax in that the govt can set extraction levels directly (and that is what matters to our environment), and the price changes to match it, rather than changing the tax level to target a extraction level.

  9. Phil 9

    “but that is only a problem because we choose to use a different grade of coal than the one we have here.”

    Umm… no.
    Different grades of coal are as diverse as the difference between Bitumen, Diesel, and AvGas (But… but… but they all come from Crude Oil!)

    If you want to rebuild the Huntly station, Steve, be my guest.

  10. insider 10

    “I would like to see that licencing system extended, with rights for all kinds of resource use”

    I think that is an ACT policy…there’s hope for you yet 🙂

  11. Camryn 11

    Not really related, but I can’t help but giggle when the American coal industry (as “Americans for Balanced Energy Choices”) promotes itself (heavily) on television as “America’s Power” in ads set to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration”. Everything is so overt here!

    http://www.americaspower.org/
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Americans_for_Balanced_Energy_Choices
    http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/kool_the_gang/celebration.html

    P.S. Captcha is “No Levee”. Don’t tell New Orleans.

  12. insider 12

    Americans consume energy with a passion not with guilt.

  13. Tim 13

    Greenpeace are pretty mild really. I wonder what the Sea Shepherd would have done in the same situation?

  14. andy 14

    steve,

    My argument still stands, they protested in such a way as to draw the ire of people and a massive over response from the police and media and they got called on it. The police have to assess all threats and not just from a phone call from Greenpeace.

    The police have to arrest and protect them at the same time. I am sure they know better than us what amount of resources they needed, do Phillipino (at a guess) sailors understand the protest? Do you know that ocean going vessels have lots of guns on board to stop piracy, now that would have been news.

  15. Pat 15

    Maybe if the police had sent 30 officers to the Rainbow Warrior bombing, they would have caught all the French Terrorists.

    When will they get it?

    From the Vietnam protests to the anti-aparthied demos, from Bastion Pt. to the anti-nuclear movement, the police in this country have always been on the wrong side of history.

  16. andy 16

    Pat,

    Do you think the police had to go with ‘overwhelming force’, to look like they are doing something! I do, as they knew the media would be there on mass (is perfect for tv and we all can see that)

    The police are in a catch 22, greenpeace should be embarrased by thse actions.

    BTW its not their job to ‘get it’ and what is it that they have to get? I bet you were disgusted by the boy racers in ChCh recently? What if they ignored them and said they were just harmless protesters ? You would have been up in arms and calling for them to do something! They have a job to keep the peace, protect people and ‘property’, they never stop legitimate protest (sams Jenny Shipleys time). What did Green peace do, risk peoples lives (thier own) and invade or restrict others property rights. You are talking about history over 20 years ago. The police on the front line today were probably not even born!

    Maybe you don’t get it! Peaceful protest is legal, how can greenpeace justify non peaceful protest when ‘peace’ is part of thier brand! How many were arrested? from the coal ship?

  17. Dale 17

    There were two very large ships involved and many crew so the number of police required was large.What GreenPeace did was to put peoples lives in danger,the sea conditions were not that calm. It was a publicity stunt to start off their nation wide tour to gain new members and generate cash. I think they may have lost more support than they gained.I hope those prosicuted will face the full force of the law and have the book thrown at them. Piracy is a very serious offence. If GreenPeace had any BALLS they would do it in a Chinese Port.

  18. insider 18

    Wonder if their ship is made from steel produced using coking coal?

    I’m sure it runs on biodiesel too. But of course it’s do as we say not do as we do with GP, or is it the ends justifies the means?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • EY: TPP stamp duties on foreigners may have to apply to Kiwis
    The Government’s claim that a TPP-enabled tax on foreign buyers would amount to a ban has been exposed as folly by tax experts, who say that in most cases a tax would apply to Kiwi buyers too, says Labour’s Trade ...
    3 hours ago
  • Project 300 short on facts
    A Minister’s pet scheme to employ 300 disabled people in Christchurch seems to be short on facts, says Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Poto Williams.  “Nicky Wagner cannot provide solid evidence to show that her much vaunted Project 300 has actually ...
    4 hours ago
  • Who are they going to call?
    A cry for help from New Zealand’s longest-running crisis line highlights chronic underfunding of the sector by the Government, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Lifeline is THE go-to helpline for people in crisis, taking up to 180,000 calls each ...
    10 hours ago
  • Five months too long for homeless to wait
    New figures revealing homeless people registered with Work and Income are waiting an average of 155 days to be housed shows the Government is totally overwhelmed by the housing crisis, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “What’s worse is ...
    1 day ago
  • Minister in cloud cuckoo land
    Hekia Parata needs a very big reality check if she truly believes every parent has the choice of sending their child to a private school, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Questioned in the House today about plans to pump ...
    1 day ago
  • Convention centre failure means years of uncertainty for CBD
    The failure of Gerry Brownlee’s planned convention centre deal leaves Christchurch facing uncertainty about when activity will be restored to the CBD, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “As one of the CBD’s major anchor projects, the convention centre complex ...
    1 day ago
  • PCE proves water quality still deteriorating
    The PCE State of the Environment Report shows that river water quality is continuing to get worse across large parts of New Zealand, says Labour’s Environment and Water spokesperson David Parker. “Water quality has deteriorated in Canterbury, Central Otago, Auckland, ...
    1 day ago
  • Families with new babies victims of today’s veto
    Families with new babies are the victims of an historical “first” for the New Zealand Parliament today. “For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because ...
    1 day ago
  • Crime on the rise…again!
    The Police Minister’s contention that Police have enough resources to meet the expectations of New Zealand communities is not reflected in the Police’s own statistics, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Yet again, reported burglaries have increased in every region ...
    1 day ago
  • Private schools beneficiaries of extra cash
    Plans to give more taxpayer money to private schools at a time when state schools are struggling to make ends meet says everything about the National Government’s twisted priorities, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Not only did this year’s ...
    2 days ago
  • Inequality getting worse under National
    Inequality is getting worse under National with almost 60 per cent of the wealth in this country concentrated in the hands of the top 10 per cent according to Statistics NZ figures released today, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 days ago
  • Government freezes elderly out of insulation subsidy
    Government cuts to the Warm Up New Zealand insulation subsidy means it will now only be available for rental properties and could leave many elderly homeowners cold this winter, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In this year’s Budget the Government ...
    3 days ago
  • Shewan report delivers rebuke to National
    John Shewan’s report into foreign trusts is a rebuke to John Key and the National Party who have protected an industry that has damaged New Zealand’s reputation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Three years ago the Inland Revenue Department ...
    3 days ago
  • Auckland Airport rail analysis must be made public
    The Government should publicly release its detailed analysis of rail to Auckland Airport before it closes off options, so the public can have an informed debate, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Transport Agency today said it is ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister approved OIO consent despite death and investigations
    Louise Upston must say if she knew Intueri was being prosecuted for the death of a student and under a funding investigation when she approved its overseas investment consent to buy another education provider, says Labour’s Land Information and Associate ...
    4 days ago
  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    6 days ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    6 days ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    6 days ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    6 days ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    7 days ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    1 week ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    1 week ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    1 week ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    1 week ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    1 week ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    1 week ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    1 week ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    1 week ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    1 week ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    1 week ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Massey East houses a start but Nick Smith should think bigger
    The Massey East 196-home development is a start but the Government must think bigger if it is to end the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “It is great the Government is finally realising it needs to build ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More changes needed to ensure fewer cases like Teina Pora’s
    Teina Pora spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, shafted by a Police investigation that prioritised an investigator’s hunch over the pursuit of credible evidence. Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to pay him $2.5m in ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere