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

  • Environment Court Judge appointed
    Prudence Steven QC, barrister of Christchurch has been appointed as an Environment Judge and District Court Judge to serve in Christchurch, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Steven has been a barrister sole since 2008, practising in resource management and local government / public law.    She was appointed a Queen’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government moves on climate promises
    The Government is delivering on its first tranche of election promises to take action on climate change with a raft of measures that will help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target, create new jobs and boost innovation. “This will be an ongoing area of action but we are moving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Jump starting research careers
    The Government is investing up to $10 million to support 30 of the country’s top early-career researchers to develop their research skills. “The pandemic has had widespread impacts across the science system, including the research workforce. After completing their PhD, researchers often travel overseas to gain experience but in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Project protects jobs and nature
    A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19 Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “This $500,000 project will save ten local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs. They will be undertaking local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister Shaw speaks with U.S. Presidential Envoy John Kerry
    Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw spoke yesterday with President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. “I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Kerry this morning about the urgency with which our governments must confront the climate emergency. I am grateful to him and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced three diplomatic appointments: Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai   Poland “New Zealand’s relationship with Poland is built on enduring personal, economic and historical connections. Poland is also an important ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Major redevelopment of Wainuiomata High School underway
    Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Minister joined principal Janette Melrose and board chair Lynda Koia to kick off demolition for the project, which is worth close to $40 million, as the site ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New expert group appointed to advise Government on Oranga Tamariki
    A skilled and experienced group of people have been named as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis today. The Board will provide independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children across three key areas of Oranga Tamariki: relationships with families, whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago