Author: tjonescan

Fonterra’s Dirty Secret

Well, it’s not that big a secret: Fonterra is the third-largest consumer of coal in New Zealand, and Fonterra keeps passing up opportunities to convert its heat plant from coal to wood. Their latest bad move – and it’s a really bad one – is their decision to build a new coal mine at Mangatawhiri in the North Waikato, near SH2 between Auckland and the Coromandel. Fonterra’s head office is at 9 Princes St, Auckland, and Auckland Coal Action is working with Mangatawhiri residents to build opposition to the planned new mine. Today, Tuesday 5 March at 4pm, Auckland Coal Action members will be handing out special milk drinks featuring Fonterra’s secret ingredient outside Fonterra’s HQ, as reported in the Waikato Times. On Thursday, local residents have organised a public meeting on the proposed mine. Full details and directions are available on the Auckland Coal Action site, but in brief: WHEN: 7 pm, Thursday 7 March 2013 WHERE: Mangatawhiri Hall, cnr of Mangatawhiri and McKenzie Roads, Mangatawhiri. Everyone is welcome to attend. Auckland Coal Action have also created an excellent leaflet about Fonterra’s plans, which is also available for you to download. Here is how you can help with this campaign against Fonterra’s dirty secret: If possible, attend the action today or the meeting on Thursday. Write a submission opposing the mine – submissions are due by 28 March....

Read More

Solid Energy and the National Government: So Happy Together

“The Government was worried about Solid Energy’s ambitious investment plans and rosy view of coal prices as far back as 2009 but was unable to order the company to steer a safer course, Prime Minister John Key says.” (26 February 2013, New Zealand Herald.) Gee, that’s a surprise, Mr Prime Minister! Because here’s what you said on 3 June 2011: “Speaking in Invercargill yesterday, Mr Key said he supported Solid Energy’s plan to dig up lignite and turn it into briquettes, saying the Government wanted companies such as Solid Energy, which is Government-owned, to expand.” (PM backs mining south’s lignite, Southland Times) And here is a picture from the National Party’s own photo stream of John Key’s deputy, Bill English, turning the first sod for Solid Energy’s pilot lignite briquetting plant – a plant which now lies useless in the middle of the Mataura Valley: Isn’t it nice the way Don lets Bill take the lead? Isn’t it nice the way they both smile for the camera? Isn’t it a pity how rats fight to be first to leave the sinking...

Read More

Summerfest 2013: The View From Southland

The 2013 Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival was organised by Coal Action Murihiku (CAM), the Southland regional group affiliated with the Coal Action Network Aotearoa. So it seems appropriate to highlight a couple of reports of the Festival from Southland sources: Dave Kennedy of CAM reports on the Friday and Sunday of the Festival in his report on the Festival, Shaping Southland’s Future Without Lignite. Coal Action Murihiku’s February newsletter is entirely given over to reports, thoughts and photos on the Festival. As Bell Murphy says in her Festival report: The fact that this year’s event was primarily organised by Coal Action Murihiku (CAM) was really exciting. It’s a tribute to the staunch, creative, loving and ingenious folk in Southland. You can find all the CAM newsletters on the CANA...

Read More

Summer Festival Registration Deadline Extended

If you were thinking of attending the 2013 Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival, but hadn’t quite got round to registering by the original deadline of last Thursday, here’s some good news: Coal Action Murihiku, the organisers of the Festival, have kindly agreed to extend the registration deadline until this coming Wednesday, the 16th of January. So, here’s your chance: please register now at As an incentive, check out this downloadable version of the programme for the Festival’s Community Day on Sunday 20 January:...

Read More

Our Land, Our Water, Our Future – Worth Fighting For

Rob McCreath, our main guest speaker at the 2013 Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival, has kindly agreed to speak in Dunedin on his way south – Wed 16 January 7pm at English Language Matters, Level 2 Evan Parry House, 43 Princes St.  We’re looking forward to hearing how Rob and Friends of Felton stopped the coal mine and chemical plant in their area. And we’re hoping we can apply what he has learned to our own situation – how best to continue supporting our Southland neighbours, as well as protecting our own coastline and Otago region from more mining. Tea, coffee and nibbles available. Hope you can make it. Here’s the Facebook invite:...

Read More