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Climate Direct Action

Written By: - Date published: 9:21 am, December 21st, 2009 - 90 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, ETS, national/act government - Tags:

Text from John Darroch a couple of minutes ago:

hey just hanging ten stories up the mfat building in welly protesting against fonterror 🙂 regarding climate change

Nice one John – according to NZPA you’re only four stories up. Hope you get your point across and make it down safely!

Great to see some action following on from the five day Climate Camp.

UPDATE: 12.15pm:

I just spoke to John Darroch who says they came down from the building about half an hour ago and the police decided not to arrest them – they just got issued with a trespass notice banning them from touching the building for 2 years.

John says that the related protest at the stock exchange had a couple of arrests, but the police later released everyone without charge.

John confirms that when he sent me that text message he had no idea how high he was and was guessing. John being new to climbing, I bet 4 stories felt pretty high 😉

For the full details on why activists carried out these actions this morning, view their press release here. John promises pics are to come in the next hour.

Following five days of democratic and sustainable living in the Hutt Valley people from across New Zealand have converged on the capital to confront the profiteers of climate change and let them know that our climate is not their business.

Read full press release from Climate Camp Aotearoa…

Looks as though the strategy coming out of Climate Camp is that lobbying the NACT government is a waste of time – go straight to those profiting.

UPDATE 1.47pm:


More pics here…

90 comments on “Climate Direct Action ”

  1. ieuan 1

    What is the ‘point’ that they are trying to get across and why do they have to protest illegally?

  2. rocky 2

    The ‘point’ is the lack of government and industry action on climate change. Somehow I thought that was fairly obvious! Try reading the archives for climate change or ets on this blog and you might get some idea.

    As for protesting illegally – they will be charged with being unlawfully on a building I imagine, but I know people that have won in court for similar actions – it’s questionable whether it is unlawful.

    Regardless of the legality, clearly the people doing it are prepared to accept the consequences of their actions – there’s no way they’ll be trying to escape from police when they come down. To my mind civil disobedience remains one of the most effective forms of protest – illegal action done by someone prepared to take the consequences to draw attention to their cause. Can you give some logical reason for being against it? Or is it the cause rather than the action you are against?

    • ieuan 2.1

      Obeying the law isn’t optional based on your moral or ethical point to view.

      If the corporations you protest against broke the law I am sure you would expect them to be punished and the same should apply to protesters (especially those that think they are above the law).

      Regarding the ’cause’ I guess calling Fonterra, ‘Fonterror’ sums it up.

      • rocky 2.1.1

        Regarding the ’cause’ I guess calling Fonterra, ‘Fonterror’ sums it up.

        In a text message to a friend, probably not expecting it to be published. And given Fonterra/Fonterror’s actions, is it not an appropriate name? Climate change will cause more terror around the globe than every terrorist attack put together.

        If the corporations you protest against broke the law I am sure you would expect them to be punished and the same should apply to protesters (especially those that think they are above the law).

        You just reinforced my point – the protesters are prepared to accept the consequences of their actions. You won’t hear them complaining about being arrested for it.

        • ieuan 2.1.1.1

          ‘Climate change will cause more terror around the globe than every terrorist attack put together.’

          Even it that is the case (and I very much doubt it) how is that Fonterra’s fault??

          ‘So you won’t hear them complaining about being arrested for it.’

          So we won’t see a post that says they were illegally searched or the police didn’t want to talk to their lawyer?

          • rocky 2.1.1.1.1

            So we won’t see a post that says they were illegally searched or the police didn’t want to talk to their lawyer?

            The post you’re referring to: At no point did I complain about Jasmine being arrested, nor would I have complained if I were arrested. The arrests were lawful (whether found guilty in court or not). The car search was unlawful. What’s your point? I’m just not getting it.

            Even it that is the case (and I very much doubt it) how is that Fonterra’s fault??

            Try here as just one example.

            Would you consider whole populations and cultures being destroyed a minor matter?

            • ieuan 2.1.1.1.1.1

              So Fonterra using palm oil (in a perfectly legal manner) makes them responsible for the destruction of ‘whole populations and cultures’?

              Honesly, grumpy’s comment below (9:51am) sums it up perfectly.

              This protest will have zero effect on Fonterra, actually, it will probably harden the resolve of those in charge to ignore the lunatic environmental fringe.

              • rocky

                So Fonterra using palm oil (in a perfectly legal manner) makes them responsible for the destruction of ‘whole populations and cultures’?

                That plus trying to prevent dairy farmers having to take any responsibility for the emissions from dairy farming.

                (in a perfectly legal manner)

                Are you claiming all actions, if legal, are also right and ethical?

              • grumpy

                Ieuan, I would have a bit of time for the action if it was to demonstrate against Fonterra’s import of palm kernel (an action that cuts food production and leads to 3rd world starvation). That is an issue the public can understand. anti Global Warming is just so last year.

              • rocky

                Ieuan, I would have a bit of time for the action if it was to demonstrate against Fonterra’s import of palm kernel (an action that cuts food production and leads to 3rd world starvation).

                Now we get to the bottom of it. It’s the cause rather than the action that you disagree with!

              • grumpy

                Of course.

          • gitmo 2.1.1.1.2

            I expect them to be really mature and blast “fuck the law” from their mopeds speed away from the scene.

            • rocky 2.1.1.1.2.1

              I expect them to be really mature and blast “fuck the law’ from their mopeds speed away from the scene.

              Can you give an example? I’ve never heard of activists “speed away from the scene”.

          • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1.1.3

            “So we won’t see a post that says they were illegally searched or the police didn’t want to talk to their lawyer?”

            Come on, Ieuan. Being illegally searched is illegal.

            If you think protesters should obey the law then you surely must think the police should.

            The rule of law means that actions should be dealt with by applying the law (rather than some arbitrary measures). If a citizen wants to do something, and is happy to submit to having the law applied, then the rule of law is being respected. If the police go beyond the law to punnish them, the rule of law is being breached. It’s not difficult mate.

      • Tigger 2.1.2

        ieuan – ever worked for ‘Fonterror’? I have. It’s a pretty apt name. And damn funny.

      • “ieuan

        Obeying the law isn’t optional based on your moral or ethical point to view”

        Apparently it is when a farmer decides the fine for dumping shit in a river is less than the cost of proper disposal, or a fishing company decides to take more than their quota because they can sell it for more than the fine, or even a lowly old political party deciding to break the spending limits at election time because they can afford to pay a fine as well as the extra advertising.

        The law seems quite optional their, I’m sure you’d defend the fisherman and the farmer, maybe even the political party (depending where they sit on the political spectrum of course.

  3. Gosman 3

    Just walked past them a few minutes ago. They are in fact only four stories up as suggested in the NZPA story.

    I’d agree with ieuan as well, it is unclear what exactly they are protesting against other than they blame Fonterra for climate change somehow. This is kind of like blaming Car manufacturers for road accidents.

    • rocky 3.1

      They are in fact only four stories up as suggested in the NZPA story.

      Probably feels like higher up when you’re hanging off a building 😉

      As for Fonterra, they are New Zealands largest greenhouse gas emitter and have lobbied the government extensively to take no effective action against agricultural emissions.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        Fonterra would not be NZ largest greenhouse gas emitters. Unless you are now saying that when you buy something from someone else you are actually the one emitting the greenhouse gas from the products you buy. If so then we could resolve pretty much our entire Greenhouse gas problem by exporting everything we make.

        • rocky 3.1.1.1

          Under the terms of Kyoto you are quite correct – exports don’t count.

          However, take that aside, and Fonterra still account for 20% of our emissions on what they produce alone.

          • Gosman 3.1.1.1.1

            Fonterra is largely a marketing company. I’d suggest Fonterra doesn’t produce much the Greenhouse gas itself. I think you are mistaking Fonterra with the thousands of individual Dairy Farmers that sell their produce through Fonterra. Unless you have evidence suggesting that Fonterra’s operations, (Milk product processing and distribution), are in fact heavily Greenhouse gas intesnsive?

            • rocky 3.1.1.1.1.1

              LOL! I’m not sure you realise how ridiculous you sound trying to claim Fonterra aren’t responsible for the effects of milk production!

              • Lanthanide

                Don’t all the individual farmers actually own Fonterra?

              • Gosman

                Do you blame Marketing and distibution companies for causing all the Greenhouse gas emisions of the products they sell then?

                If so then companies such as Supermarkets and Hardware stores must be the biggest emmitters in the world.

                If Fonterra didn’t extist you would still have a Dairy industry in New Zealand. You would therefore still have pretty much the same amount of Greenhouse gas emisions.

                It is you analysis which is simplistic and ridiculous not mine.

              • rocky

                If so then companies such as Supermarkets and Hardware stores must be the biggest emmitters in the world.

                Indeed. The reason not to target them in protest is that they haven’t been a major lobbying force against climate change policy in NZ.

            • ieuan 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Fonterra is far from being a marketing company. Even if you argue that the dairy farmers are not part of Fonterra and therefore Fonterra is not responsible for the farm emissions, Fonterra are very definitely responsible for the emissions from their dairy factories.

              These factories convert the vast majority of their milk into dried milk powder, this is done by burning coal.

              • Gosman

                And that would be where you would have a case that Fonterra is a big emitter of Greenhouse gases not the actual dairying that goes on prior to them receiving the milk from the farmers.

                BTW I didn’t realise that Coal was such an important part of the process of turning Milk into Milk powder. Surely all you need is some form of power source. Why does this need to come from Coal, or is Coal used in some other way (is it added to the milk)?

  4. grumpy 5

    For a public already sceptical about climate change, who have had the “end of the world” rammed down their throats every night for a couple of weeks, a radical demonstrator hanging on a rope off a building (claiming to be 10 floors up when it’s only 4), is one more nail in the coffin of winning public sentiment over.

    • rocky 5.1

      claiming to be 10 floors up when it’s only 4

      In a text message to a friend! I imagine he was more focussed on climbing safely than counting the stories!

      For a public already sceptical about climate change, who have had the “end of the world’ rammed down their throats every night for a couple of weeks

      How would you suggest better sending the message for the public to digest? Oh hang on – you don’t actually want the public to get the message do you?

      • grumpy 5.1.1

        A text message to a friend – who then made it public.

        If it hasn’t got through aftyer being rammed down their throats every night for a week, a demonstrator on a rope is hardly likely to do the trick.

        • rocky 5.1.1.1

          A text message to a friend who then made it public.

          Indeed, I’m hoping he won’t be grumpy with me when he comes down!

          If it hasn’t got through aftyer being rammed down their throats every night for a week, a demonstrator on a rope is hardly likely to do the trick.

          Of course that makes it wrong?

          • grumpy 5.1.1.1.1

            No, just ineffective or worse, counterproductive.

            • Roflcopter 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah, well they keep adding random degrees celsius to any scientific findings they come across, so might as well add a few floors to the building level they’re on.

  5. But Grumpy if the population at large understood the enormity of the problem they would be demanding action from their elected representatives now.

    I agree that there is this reaction by some against having “the end of the world rammed down their throats every night for a couple of weeks” but this shows a major weakness of the human race. Many just do not want to think about it and this beligerence that some are stirring up is to replace the fear that people are feeling deep down.

    But there is no excuse for our elected representatives or elements of the business sector. They know the enormity of the problem but are refusing to take proper action.

    • grumpy 6.1

      Mickey, if the population at large understood the enormity of the problem, it would become an election issue and politicians would then be forced to act – a bit like National standards for primary education really.

      • mickysavage 6.1.1

        Actually the totally opposite.

        There is no crisis with our education system. Tolley takes a couple of sentences in a report, manufactures a crisis and tries to look tough by taking on the teacher’s union when it is the sector as a whole who is shaking it’s head in disbelief.

        There is a crisis with climate change. It is like a large boulder slowly rolling down a hill that will eventually destroy all before it. It will take a while to get there but unless you start to slow it down now destruction is inevitable. There may be a chance that it will miss but sticking your head in the sand and hoping that it will do so is not an option that I for one agree with.

        • grumpy 6.1.1.1

          Really?????

          I do know that a huge number of kids leave school without being able to read and write.

          As for AGW, if, in 5 years time (As Al Gore predicts), the polar ice cap has vanished – then I’ll admit you were right.

  6. Steve 7

    So they have seats and are quite comfortable. They may stay there until lunchtime.
    Here is a thought .. they are trespassing, leave them there overnight exposed to the elements. Don’t rescue them and stop anyone who tries. They may then be responsible for their actions.

    • rocky 7.1

      they are trespassing

      Possibly – depends whether they can hear the warnings to leave – under the Trespass Act 1980 you have to be warned to leave first.

      Don’t rescue them and stop anyone who tries.

      Somehow I expect they are more than capable of rescuing themselves.

    • Do you always call for people who are protesting to be killed? Or is it only people who are protesting something that goes against your beliefs that you want to die?

      • Steve 7.2.1

        What’s the matter with you?
        Who said anything about dying? Why the “jack in a box” response?
        A bit of cold wind and rain may make them think before trespassing.What makes you think I wish them dead Draco?

  7. felix 8

    Citizens calm down.

    If you disagree with your masters you will have the option to re-elect them in two years.

    Until then please be quiet, go calmly about your work, and keep your opinions to yourself.

    Remain seated unless you have a specifically approved reason to move.

    If the citizen next to you stands up, please remind them of the importance of obedience.

    Also please report them to the appropriate authorities.

    Have a sedate day.

  8. gomango 9

    I have no problem with protestors making their point, even to the point of minor illegality like this. It’s not overstepping the mark to any meaningful degree, hasn’t hurt anyone, doesn’t really cost anyone else, and I want NZ to be a society where everyone can make a point – that includes extremists from all issues. For instance I don’t agree with right wing fundamentalist zealots but they have a right to march down Queen Street. Nor do I agree with self styled eco warriors but again I don’t mind the odd building climb.

    But driving in to work this morning I heard on ZB news a comment from the protestors along the lines of “we are demanding an end to commercial farming in NZ”.

    That is the point at which you lose the argument with the other 99.99% of New Zealand. Without even debating climate change, sensible actions, the future of our children etc, when your starting position is essentially “we want to see a NZ with less than half of its current standard of living, massive poverty at the lower end of society, government services halved due to the loss of the tax base” you have lost the argument. No one will engage with you anymore.

    And while this post doesn’t mention Greenpeace, my recollection is that the ZB story did call this a “Greenpeace demonstration.” Never again will I give the Greenpeace panhandlers on Queen Street a donation.

    • rocky 9.1

      It wasn’t a Greenpeace protest – John is not a member of Greenpeace as far as I am aware.

      “we want to see a NZ with less than half of its current standard of living, massive poverty at the lower end of society, government services halved due to the loss of the tax base’

      I think you’ll find there’s a lot of people involved in these actions with varying viewpoints – the commonality is that they all want to see urgent action on climate change. I think the point being made by whoever made the comment you refer to: “we are demanding an end to commercial farming in NZ”, is that the consequences of not doing anything could be even worse.

    • grumpy 9.2

      I gave up on Greenpeace a long time ago when they decided their role was merely to take pictures of whales being killed.

      Now I donate to Sea Shepherd, a prime example of direct action in a noble and popular cause.

    • ben 9.3

      Tell you what, Gomango, how about I come to your place unannounced, climb up on your roof, hang a sign on there that denounces your company, of course in ways you strongly disagree, and all in front of the filming media below.

      That would also be a minor illegality, and I’m guessing you’d be pretty bloody upset about it.

      • felix 9.3.1

        Go on then, ben. If you care enough to do that you probably have your reasons. I’ll try to listen to what you have say, and lots of other people will too.

        Oh hang on, it’s all just theoretical with you, eh?

  9. Winston Smith 10

    Rocky and Grumpy you are utter numpties. Paul Watson is a freakin’ terrorist for heaven’s sake. He uses violence, he’s armed and he does more damaghe to the conservation effort than he does good.

    Just because he supports a cause you believe in doesn’t make him any better than an Islamic extremist who flies a plane into a building or suicide bombs a busy cafe.

    You can’t pick and choose the type of terrorism you’ll tolerate or endorse.

    • rocky 10.1

      What violence are you referring to? I’ve never heard of Paul Watson engaging in any violence that wasn’t in self defence. You comparing him to a suicide bomber who flies planes into buidings and kills people shows who the real extremist here is.

      • Winston Smith 10.1.1

        so welding a bulldozer blade as a can-opener to the side of his ship so that he can deliberately rip open the hulls of other vessels is self-defense???

        What about when the Sea Shepherd sank a whaler in Vigo using a limpet mine (reminds one of the French sinking the Rainbow Warrior does it not??)

        What about when Sea Shepherd sank two whalers in Iceland in 1986? That same year they shot at Faroese police.

        Or what about 1993 when one of the Sea Shepherd activists was indicted for the use of unregistered explosives, extortion and threats to interfere in interstate commerce and interstate transportation, to commit arson, theft and destruction of government property, and for receiving stolen property.

        Under the US Congress Animal Enterprise Protection Act Paul Watson is a terrorist.

        Check out the FBI definition of terrorism “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property, intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.’

        Paul Watson has a long long record of using unprovoked violence against his targets – do your homework numpty.

      • grumpy 10.1.2

        The good thing about watson is that he’s focussed on his cause – not diluted by AGW etc. etc.

        Not only that but he’s effective.

        “He might be a terrorist but he’s my kind of terrorist”

        • Winston Smith 10.1.2.1

          Bullshit.

          He was so effective that his actions resulted in Greenpeace losing their tax-exempt status in USA in 1977

          He is so effective that after 40 years or more of his efforts, the Japanese continue to hunt whales, the Canadians continue to club baby seals to death for their skins, shark finners continue finning sharks while they’re alive…

          Effective? Get real.

          [lprent: two comments in a row in your own words. Very good. I’ll remove the moderation block and see how you do. ]

    • felix 10.2

      Winston: You can’t pick and choose the type of terrorism you’ll tolerate or endorse.

      Sure you can. For example, I quite like the kind of terrorism which involves punching holes in whaling boats.

      See how that works?

      • grumpy 10.2.1

        I don’t call that terrorism.

        The Japanese killing of whales is terrorism. Punching holes in whaling boats is just like whacking the guy who’s attacking the kids next door with a bit of 4 x 2.

        • felix 10.2.1.1

          Yeah I agree. That was kind of the point – in a round-about way – that defining terrorism isn’t as straightforward as Winston wants to think it is.

          • Winston Smith 10.2.1.1.1

            FBI definition of terrorism “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property, intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.’

            As for whacking the guy who’s attacking the kids next door with a bit of 4 x 2 I have a philosophical aversion to vigilantism but can appreciate the sentiment.

            But you demean and belittle child violence by likening it to whaling, you pitiful scum.

            • Armchair Critic 10.2.1.1.1.1

              There is nothing right about assaulting children, or whaling. Beyond that there are fewer similarities. I admire Paul Watson for trying to do something to stop whaling, he’s seen a wrong being done, and tried his best to prevent it. My freedom fighter could well be your terrorist.
              I lack a boat with a tin opener on it, if I had one I would sail south. So a few years ago I wrote to the CEO of Toyota (I own two, the last purchased in the early 2000s) and advised him that until Japan stopped whaling I would not purchase another Toyota, or any other Japanese car for that matter. No reply of course, and just a token gesture, but better than hand-wringing IMO.

              • Winston Smith

                I have no issues with economic sanctions such as stopping buying Japanese cars.

                But terrorism on the high seas and piracy hasn’t worked – it just damages the conservation effort.

            • felix 10.2.1.1.1.2

              Winston: That’s one definition, and a pretty objective one.

              It’s not the one used by the U.S. govt though. It’s also not the one used by the Israeli govt.

              As for your last sentence, I think you’re confused.

              You’re making it sound as if someone equated violence against children with violence against animals. To a compassionate person they’re not entirely dissimilar, but so far on this thread no-one has equated them.

              Whoever you were addressing that last sentence to, I think you owe them an apology. Cockhole.

              • Winston Smith

                grumpy said “Punching holes in whaling boats is just like whacking the guy who’s attacking the kids next door with a bit of 4 x 2”

                There’s your parallel between child violence and whaling, dickhead

              • felix

                Again, no-one’s equating them. (Yet).

                You’ve used the word “parallel” which is appropriate. Do you know what it means?

            • grumpy 10.2.1.1.1.3

              Hi Glenn, pitiful scum here.

              As far as I know, Watson hasn’t actually deliberately punched holes in the side of a Japanese whaler yet. His can opener is a deterent to the whalers who have fired shots, used acoustic weapons etc. to try and discourage Sea Shepherd.”

              Watsons brilliant sinking of the Icelandic whaling fleet was when they were at anchor – unmanned.

              You forget that Watson is upholding a UN ban on whaling in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. In that case he is acting with at least some, legal backing.

              As some of you know, I am not a trendy lefty, you would be surprised at the level of support for Watson from people you might well label as “righties

            • grumpy 10.2.1.1.1.4

              Great definition – is it the same one the CIA uses?

    • “Winston Smith

      You can’t pick and choose the type of terrorism you’ll tolerate or endorse.”

      You seem to have no problem doing exactly that? oh that’s right, your side is doing it, it is not called terrorism.

  10. burt 11

    Looks as though the strategy coming out of Climate Camp is that lobbying the NACT government is a waste of time go straight to those profiting.

    Al Gore will hate that.

  11. mike 12

    “John confirms that when he sent me that text message he had no idea how high he was and was guessing. John being new to climbing, I bet 4 stories felt pretty high”

    Sounds like another case of exaggerationitis that has infected thousands lately. Doctors say it usually only affects weak, gullible and paranoid people of a left persuasion…

    • grumpy 12.1

      Normally, I would agree with you but Winston Smith has got me feeling a bit ambivalent politically.

    • Rex Widerstrom 12.2

      Puts me in mind of a live radio cross we were doing one morning as my sports guy took a hot air balloon ride with some listeners who”d won a contest. He was more excited than the contest winners.

      The damn thing wouldn’t take off for some reason, and he was dejected whilst I was annoyed. Then a few minutes before my shift was due to end I hear him yelling down the line:

      “We’re in the airr! We’re in the air!”

      So I put him to air and he describes the magnificent feeling of exhilaration, how nothing in his life has ever come close etc etc.

      I make the mistake of asking “How high off the ground are you Ian?”

      He relays the question to the balloonist. And the audience hears “About a foot”.

      😀

      It’s very easy to get over-excited when you’re up high and not used to it (I was similarly bitten by exaggerationitis when dangled off the top of the mast of a Whitbread yacht).

      Doubtful it was deliberate, and more due to exuberance than any of the causes you suggest.

  12. That building is several stories higher above Lampton Quay than it is the Terrace. So I guess how many stories up you are depends on which side of the building you are on.

    Arrested then released hours later without charge seems a very common occurrence at protests, has anyone considered a case against the police for unlawful arrest?

  13. randal 14

    in answer to comment one.
    if it takes an illegal protest to get the job done then so be it.
    it is obvious that the green people aspire to live in a world that is not polluted and where the food is safe to eat but the fake aspirants who just want more stuff at any cost will also take the same attitude to those who would stand in the way of their infantile desires.

  14. BLiP 15

    What is up with the Police? They handled the entire incident in a professional manner without whipping up fear and resentment, gave the protesters a fair-nuff bollocking, issued a trespass notice and sent them on their way!!!

    A win-win outcome for all concerned. Amazing. Well done everyone. Long may it last.

  15. BLiP 16

    Meanwile – Fonterror and its farmers continue to be their own worst enemies.

  16. Well looking at the positives at least Fonterra have a strategy and momentum. See my blog http://www.greenbranz.org/?cat=26

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