Author: tjonescan

Saturday 14 July: Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Action Day Nationwide

So what’s happening in the campaign against state asset sales? Well, Peter Dunne may have given the Government the vote it needed to pass its Mixed Ownership Model, but there’s a long way between passing the enabling legislation and actually flogging off the nation’s silverware to foreign investors. The petition to force a Citizens’ Initiated Referendum on asset sales is rapidly gathering signatures: you can download the paper petition (that’s the one that matters!) and get involved at keepourassets.org.nz And there is another day of protests against asset sales coming up this Saturday. The Government may have persuaded Peter Dunne to vote in favour of asset sales, but it certainly hasn’t persuaded the country. Check out the action nearest to you this Saturday, and get involved.   Facebook page for the...

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Press Release: Investors Told To Stay Away From Coal

Coal Action Network Aotearoa has told mining investors to keep their hands off New Zealand coal. L&M Energy held its AGM in Wellington today. The company is involved in underground coal gasification and coal seam gas exploitation, while another of the companies in the L&M group, L&M Lignite, is trying to exploit the massive quantities of lignite in Eastern Southland. These companies have been actively looking to gain new investors for mining projects. Coal Action Network Aotearoa spokesperson Tim Jones said that the time is past when mining companies like those in the L&M group can go about their business unnoticed. “We know the Government supports coal mining, and doesn’t give two hoots about the terrible consequences of mining coal for our climate and the local environment. And we know mining companies like L&M are hoping to strike it lucky, with no regard for the climate, the environment or anything but lining their own pockets.” “Coal Action Network Aotearoa, and anti-coal groups all over the country, are here to tell L&M and other companies with coal projects that there are no free passes any more. If you plan to mine coal, expect trouble. And if you don’t intend to actually mine, but instead intend to deliberately start an underground coal fire and collect the resulting gases – which is what underground coal gasification means – then you might want to...

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Martha’s Mine

This fine poem is by Auckland Coal Action member Nick Pak. Martha’s Mine My aunt Martha has lived here twenty years now. They brought her here with empty promises; now life goes on bitter and ugly, a web of shattered dreams and sadness They’ve never taken away her rubbish – now twenty years of sludge sit in her backyard. Not profitable yet, she tells me as she watches the sludge shipping index to China It’s time to move on, she says. She used to have a good home, a sturdy four bedroom white painted weatherboard place, ’till Papa got too hungry and gobbled it up She’s on the benefit and her six kids have never had jobs. The employment situation here is the pits and her husband died long ago of respiratory failure With a glint of hope in her eye she tells me the kids are headed north, there are promises of work there, the nation is creating jobs for hard working Neu Zulunders. Next year I visit them in Northland. The birds have stopped singing and the rivers run with poison. I see them sitting in their rigs with eyes of shattered dreams and sadness For a visual artist’s close-up view of coal mining, check out Meliors Simms’ account of her recent visit to Stockton Mine:...

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Our Article in the Christchurch Press: Coal Mining Catastrophe

This week, CANA had a Perspective Piece in the Christchurch Press in response to a pro-coal-mining piece from Chris Baker of Straterra, the mining industry lobby group. We submitted the article as “Straterra Can’t Spin Climate Change Away”, but the Press gave it a better title: Coal Mining Catastrophe. The article is below, and also on Stuff: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/perspective/7134638/Coal-mining-catastrophe Coal Mining Catastrophe Chris Baker, the Chief Executive of Straterra, recently claimed [in the Press] that it was “unrealistic and irresponsible to advocate for a halt to coal mining in New Zealand”. Straterra’s spin is well-funded by its mining industry masters. But it is those who claim that New Zealand and the world can safely continue to mine and burn coal who are being unrealistic. Those who want to profit from coal mining adjust their tactics to the circumstances. In the USA, the mining companies, drillers and frackers continue to pour money into the climate change denial movement. In New Zealand, at least in public, the mining industry claims to be concerned about climate change. It just works hard to stop us taking any meaningful action on it. The world’s climate is already changing: more floods, more droughts, more tornadoes. Sea level rise has begun, and even if we stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow, we are already committed to more. Climate change is driven by the burning of fossil fuels, and...

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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....

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