Kia Ora Koutou

As we know, the Government and the mining industry have launched a coordinated assault on New Zealand’s environment and on the land, health and water of communities and iwi around the country.

A coordinated assault requires a coordinated response, and that’s what will be happening in August. First, people opposed to mining in its various guises will be gathering in Rotorua on 25-26 August for Ka Nui / Enough!, a counter-conference to the mining industry conference also happening in Rotorua. If you want to be there, email for details.

One of the participants in the conference will be Drew Hutton of Australia’s Lock the Gate Alliance. If you can’t make it to Rotorua, Drew will be touring the country in late August – check out the dates below.

Our campaign continues to build all around the country, and we welcome a new group, Coal Action Waikato, to our roundup of news from regional groups.

Enough of introducing the news – time to let you read it!

Tim Jones
Coal Action Network Aotearoa

What’s in this newsletter?

1. Coming Events 2. Ka Nui / Enough! Conference in Rotorua, 25-26 August 3. Drew Hutton Tour: Lock the Gate!
4. Asset Sales Campaign: The Big Push for Signatures Is On
5. Thermal boilers update: EECA heat plant database and Fonterra’s very bad decision in Darfield
6. Climate Change and the Resource Management Act: An Update and a Fundraising Plea
7. Regional reports: Waikato, Auckland, Wellington, Motueka, Takaka, Christchurch, Dunedin and Southland
8. Just Transition: Moving Away from Coal
9.  News and Resources
10. CANA online: Blog, Facebook and Twitter
11. How To Donate To CANA


1 August: Canterbury Coal Action Bimblebox film screening, 7.30pm, WEA, Gloucester St.Bimblebox website.

4 August: Hands Across the Sands (nationwide/worldwide)

4 August: Hands Across the Sand action at the Janie Seddon Shipwreck, Motueka Quay, noon

5 August and 19 August: Nonviolent direct action workshops, Takaka. Contact or see below under “Regional Reports” for details.

16 August: “Keep the Coal in the Hole” meeting, Wellington, 6-9pm, 18-24 Allen St

22-29 August: Drew Hutton Tour

25-26 August: Ka Nui / Enough! Conference, Rotorua

5-7 October: Ecumenical Environmental Conference, Wellington.


Coal Action Network Aotearoa is proud to be one of the groups organising a counter-conference to the New Zealand mining industry conference in Rotorua in August. The counter-conference takes place in Rotorua on 25-26 August, and its name sums up its purpose: Ka Nui / Enough!

This will be a weekend of inspiring speakers and workshops on the issues faced by communities on the resource extraction frontlines and the alternatives to the mining and fossil fuel industries.

We’ll bring details of speakers and venue to you soon, but in the meantime, start making your plans to attend, and email for more details and to register.


Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate Alliance in Queensland is coming to New Zealand in August to talk about the impact the coal seam gas industry and fracking has had on communities and the environment in Australia.

The Lock the Gate Alliance is a national alliance of over 120 community, industry and environmental groups and over 1000 supporters concerned with the devastating impact that certain inadequately assessed and inadequately-regulated fossil fuel extraction industries are having on Australia’s short and long term physical, social, environmental and economic wellbeing. See Lock the Gate website.

Drew will be speaking in the following centres. Venues and times are still to be confirmed – check the CANA blog for further details:

Drew Hutton Tour dates, August 2012
Wed 22  Wellington pm.
Thu 23   Dannevirke (Lunch/early afternoon meeting), Hastings pm.
Fri 24    Gisborne
Sat 25   Ka Nui / Enough! Conference, Rotorua
Sun 26  Rotorua Conference workshops
Mon 27  Waikato Uni, Hamilton
Tue 28  New Plymouth
Wed 29  Gore, evening


The campaign against the Government’s planned sale of state assets is going ahead on two levels. One level is the succession of national days of action, hui and protests all around the country which show the level of public opposition to the Government’s asset sales plans — including protests in at least 16 centres on Saturday 14 July.

The other is the continuing process of gathering signatures for the petition calling for a Citizens’ Initiated Referendum on asset sales. A great deal of work has been done by the political parties, the NZCTU, Grey Power and the other groups involved in this campaign to get valid signatures, and the numbers are stacking up – but more are needed! You can get involved in collecting signatures and publicising the referendum campaign here.

Oh and, it seems, Solid Energy CEO Don Elder can’t get to speak at a rally.

EECA heat plant database and Fonterra’s very bad decision in Darfield

a) EECA’s new heat plant database shows where coal is used in your community
If you don’t live in an area menaced by coal extraction, it’s easy to think that the problem is a long way away from you. But it’s all too likely that coal is being used in a school or hospital or factory boiler in your community. The bad news is that this helps to provide coal miners with a reliable local market. The good news is that boilers come up for replacement – and that’s when you can push for the replacement of coal with a renewable source of energy, wood.

If you want to know where coal is used in your community, then a good place to start is EECA’s heat plant database, recently updated. You can download it from the EECA website.

If you find a coal-fired heat plant that you want to do something about,, or one of the regional group coordinators. We’re keen to do what we can to get coal-fired boilers out of our communities.

b) Darfield milk drying plant – a huge missed opportunity

Of course, while we’re taking steps to oppose coal-fired boilers, our opponents are busily lobbying for more of them. As Jeanette Fitzsimons reports, Fonterra, no stranger to environmental crimes, has just committed another one:

We are disturbed to learn of a huge new coal burning plant that will use 90,000 tonnes a year of thermal coal.

Fonterra is in the process of building a two stage milk drying plant at Darfield with 2 coal fired boilers totalling 75 MW of heat. It will be the largest milk drying plant in the world. This is ten times larger than the Waiouru Defence Force plant which recently won an award and much acclaim for a successful conversion from coal to wood – the largest pellet burning plant in the country.

At 90,000 tonnes a year, this Fonterra plant is equal in fuel consumption to Solid Energy’s new briquetting plant, currently being built at Mataura. The sub-bituminous coal will be sourced from Giles Creek mine near Reefton, operated by Birchfield Coal Mines, a local family-owned company. The greenhouse gas emissions will be more than 150,000 tonnes/year of carbon dioxide, along with local emissions of sulphur dioxide and various heavy metals found in the coal. The consent sets limits on these, but they could have been avoided altogether.

The application for council consents makes it clear that using biomass fuel from wood was an option that was considered.  If fired completely on wood pellets it would have required more than the total South Island production, but wood chip was also possible, and would have required only 15% of the locally available wood, competing with MDF and export logs.

We understand that wood chip was a serious option, and no serious problems seem to have been raised, but the company makes clear in its consent application that it was a little nervous about continuity of supply and didn’t have experience of operating a wood fired boiler.

This is exactly the sort of situation a price on carbon is meant to assist. So why didn’t the ETS make the difference?

The answer is that we don’t really have a price on carbon. First, the National Government amended the initial scheme which would have required all new projects to pay in full for their emissions. Fonterra as an exporter will qualify for the majority of its carbon obligations as free credits, even for this new project. This could be 90% or 60% depending on the Minister.

Second, for the remaining small obligation, the Government has just extended the “two for the price of one” scheme indefinitely meaning the price in NZ is capped at $12.50 per tonne rather than the $25 in the legislation.

Third, Government is accepting cheap CDM (“Clean Development Mechanism”) credits as payment rather than requiring companies to buy from NZ foresters within the NZ market, and the price of those has slumped to about $7/tonne. Fonterra will be paying hardly anything for its emissions, while the government pretends we have a world-leading Emissions Trading Scheme.

We believe that if Fonterra was paying $25/tonne for all its greenhouse emissions the obvious choice would have been wood. The other likely consequence of a real price on carbon would be action to plant fast growing coppicing trees for a reliable supply of biomass energy in the future.


Jeanette Fitzsimons writes:

You will recall that our ability to argue climate change in RMA hearings is being tested in court. The Environment Court (Judge Newhook) in May confirmed the Commissioners’ decision on the Denniston mine that climate change arguments were not allowed.

West Coast Environment Network and Forest & Bird have appealed this judgement to the High Court, and the miners have appealed to have the case moved to the higher Court of Appeal. There was general agreement that this would save a step and some costs but the High Court has denied consent for this.

So the High Court hearing of the appeal against the Environment Court decision is set down for 30 July. The substantive hearing against the Denniston consents, in the Environment Court, is set down for late October. It is unlikely that the legal issues around climate change will be finally determined by then, so the case may go ahead with no discussion of the climate change effects of burning 6.1 million tonnes of coal. In this case it would turn on the biodiversity and landscape arguments.

We will keep you posted as these cases are heard.

Lynley Hargreaves of West Coast Environment Network adds:

West Coast Environment Network is now fundraising for these next rounds of both cases. The group has had some extremely generous donations, both from fundraising events by the Auckland Coal Action group and large individual donations. Thank you everyone! Now money is needed specifically to pay for court fees, security of costs for the upcoming High Court case, and our legal costs for the main Environment Court case. We’re hoping to raise $4000 in the next four months and are planning a raffle and other local fundraising activities, but any help would be appreciated:

West Coast ENT Incorporated, Kiwibank, 38-9012-0009759-00


Note:  quick link to contacts of all the regional anti-coal action groups.

Waikato: Coal Action Waikato

Welcome to the newest regional anti-coal group, Coal Action Waikato! Dawn Shapira sets the scene:

We have begun a Coal Action Waikato Group.We have the same aims as Coal Action Network Aotearoa, with a focus on our immediate area, the Waikato.

There is a Coal Seam Gas (CSG) project roughly 7 km northwest of Huntly town, where it has been running the last 5-10 years on a non-notifiable consent, which is why the public at large did not know. Fracking has been used on this project and consent was given to use known toxic chemicals.

Further to this an Underground Coal Gasification plant (UCG) has been in operation for the past few months, almost alongside the CSG wells — also on a non-notifiable consent.

These are Solid Energy projects in partnership with Ergo Exergy. Both of these projects are part of the greater Huntly area coalfields, which include Huntly East and Huntly West underground coal mines and Rotowaro opencast mine.

Among the eventual issues of the CSG and UCG projects of pollution and emission of toxins in the air, should full scale plants go ahead, there is the absolute danger of polluted waterways and toxic waste water that can never be used again, along with the possibility of UCG plant catching fire, and health issues to local people and stock.

Our first project as part of the group is to raise awareness and educate the public, Federated Farmers, Waikato Regional Council, local council and iwi.

If you are interested in working with us, please contact me at and we can set up a meeting. Networking can then be done via email, phone, Facebook etc.

Alongside this is the importance of working against the sale of assets by our government. The sale of Solid Energy will take any chance we have of negotiation out of New Zealand hands and the prospect of a large UCG plant will be even higher than if it stays with Solid Energy.

Please note that aside from Hamilton and other minor town centres, the whole of the Waikato is under permit to prospect to explore in some form or another, with fracking expected at Ohura, near Taumaranui!

Also, L+ M have a permit next to Solid Energy and their website states they are awaiting Solid Energy’s findings to drill for CSG.

Dawn Shapira
for Coal Action Waikato

Auckland: Auckland Coal Action

During recent weeks Auckland Coal Action has got together with members of Generation Zero to prepare submissions to Auckland Council on the Auckland Energy and Climate Change Mitigation Strategy.

On 7 July our regular members attended an all-day meeting, facilitated by Tanya from the Kotare Trust, with the purpose of refining ACA’s objectives and agreeing upon strategies for achieving them.  An ambitious programme for one day, but the meeting was productive.

Our monthly planning meeting on 14 July was brought forward to the morning so that we could attend the Aotearoa Is Not For Sale march. ACA had a good turnout for this march, including a large grey elephant with a sign around his neck that said “Climate Change is the Elephant in the Room!” We signed up several new members.

We are now planning our participation next month in the Ka Nui /Enough! Conference in Rotorua in August.

About Auckland Coal Action

Auckland Coal Action was formed in July 2011 following the visit of Dr James Hansen. We recognise that coal is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels and that its ongoing use will lead to catastrophic climate change. We aim to achieve a coal-free Aotearoa by 2030, initially by opposing the expansion of coal mining. We do this work to play our part in sustaining a benign climate for us, our children and grandchildren.

Join our Facebook group.

Subscribe to our monthly email update – contact:

Jill Whitmore

Wellington: “Keep the Coal in the Hole” meetings

We had an excellent “Keep the Coal in the Hole” meeting in Wellington on 28 June. Among the highlights were presentations on the history, activities, and operating style of Solid Energy, and on alternatives to coal. Both of these presentations have led to work which we now have underway, and which we’ll be making available publicly soon.

We also discussed a range of campaigning opportunities. One of these has been presented to us by the New Zealand petroleum industry, which plans to strut its stuff in Wellington on 19 and 20 September.

We think the petroleum industry needs to get the message that their activities do not have public support. And we’re planning to do something about that at our next meeting. Here’s the meeting invitation from Frances Mountier:

We’ve heard that the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) are presenting the NZ Petroleum Summit this September 19-20 here in Wellington.  A number of us thought Yukkkk! And that there’s no way that’s going ahead without us protesting.  So, we’re calling a Wellington planning meeting to organise how we might like to respond.

The planning meeting will be:
Thursday 16th August
Venue: offices, 18 Allen St, Wellington CBD (If you are late, the door is locked, sorry – there will be a cellphone number on the door so please text to get let in)
Please bring food to share if you are able to.

Facebook event

We hope many of the climate change, climate justice and anti-mining groups can make it along.  We haven’t got plans yet for what we might do – so please bring your thoughts.

The meeting is preceded by a Wellington Keep the Coal in the Hole gathering from 6.00-7.30pm. These are two-monthly networking meetings of groups and individuals working to phase out coal mining, and they grew out of the Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival – anyone working for the phase out of coal mining is welcome.

Hope to see you on 16 August
Francie Mountier

Please note, this is NOT a public meeting; it is for those who want to organise against the NZ Petroleum Summit.  Mining bosses and PR reps will most definitely not be welcome.

Top of the South

a) Motueka: Hands Across the Sand

There is another international Hands Across the Sand action coming up on the 4th August. Motueka is planning to participate. Anyone else across the Top of the South or on the West Coast planning an event? You can register your event on the website.

Here is the invitation to the Motueka event:

Unite with friends and neighbours in joining Hands Across The Sand at the Janie Seddon Shipwreck, Motueka Quay, Motueka, at noon on Saturday 4 August.

On this day people from all walks of life worldwide will gather on their local beaches, joining hands to create a line in the sand, sending a powerful visual message to our nations’ leaders. We will join hands to keep oil drilling out of our waters, urging our leaders to adopt policies that protect our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife and fisheries. Exploration permits are being granted around New Zealand for dangerous deep sea oil drilling. Frequent oil spills continue to happen worldwide and often go unreported.

Kiwis said no to racist sport. We said no to nuclear powered ships in our ports. Now is the time to stand together and say NO to oily beaches. We will join hands to show our support for the phasing out of fossil fuels, and for putting all of our human ingenuity behind creating a renewable energy future.

For more information contact “The Renewables”, email:

b) Takaka: Nonviolent direct action workshops, 5 and 19 August

Civil Action: disobedience through non-violent non-compliance

Facilitator:  RoC Piekarski

Dates & times:  Two Sundays, 5 and 19 August, 2-5pm
Venue:  Benfys Co Creative Space, 4 Commercial St, Takaka
Number of participants:  minimum 4

Description: Abusive authority must always be questioned and never be tolerated. From Gandhi to the Occupy Movement, non-violent non-compliance has demonstrated the empowerment of the people.  Come share an enthusiasm for humanity to reach its greatest potential by understanding the history and methods of civil disobedience and non-violent action.

Participants will explore successful civil actions then match them to present-day reasons to take civil action locally, regionally, nationally and globally.  The plan is to select at least one civil action campaign and design a strategy to implement it.  The tools of positive activism are within all, and participants will find expression of their need to stand up and disobey.

Please bring: Non-violent action exploration tools, such as laptops, writing implements, the kind word and clear laughter. Tasty dishes (finger foods) will be arranged.

Cost:  20H/$ (10H + $10) (up to half HANDS, no early bird discount). Will be applied to venue hire, HANDS costs for printing and advertising, snacks and the Community Enterprise and Economic Development Services (CEEDS) Trust.

HANDS website.

Tutor’s background: More than three decades ago Ro found Gene Sharp’s Ph.D. thesis, Non-Violent Political Action, on a university library shelf.  This weighty two-volume treatise intrigued a novice, who then hunkered down to scan and wow over this thorough exploration of the philosophy and strategy of civil action.

Over the years Sharp expanded his work and added more juice to the practice of non-violent political action.  Recently the Occupy Movement and Arab Spring have successfully applied Sharp-inspired non-violent actions to empower the people to stand up to aggressive authority for real improvement in social/economic/environmental justice and equality.

These issues and more are possibilities that participants engaged in non-violent action can explore.  We will share our intense need, emanating from the force within, to help create the best world and to allow humanity to reach its highest potential.

Other information: Please put your HANDS up early to receive emailed information to review before the first session.  Your participation includes an exploration of human potential and participants can look to extract decayed or sickening cavities that impede living in a peaceful and harmonious world.

To book: email
Christchurch: Canterbury Coal Action

Rachel Eyre writes:

Film Screening on 1 August

On the first of August, we are proud to be promoting and hosting the screening of a movie:Bimblebox. What, I hear you ask, is Bimblebox? Well, all I’ll say now is that it’s the story of a reserve in Australia and it documents their battle against a coal mine – as well as similar battles being waged across the country by tiny communities against Big Coal and Coal Seam Gas. To see the film, come to the WEA on Gloucester St at 7.30, Christchurch on the 1st of August 2012 – and for more details on Bimblebox, see this link. 

We’ve also been involved with the Climate Connections Day, hosting a meeting for local groups to discuss what they’ve been doing to combat climate change and what they’ve learnt works well and not-so-well. A great afternoon was had by all!

Dunedin: Southern Anti-Coal Action (SACA)

Rosemary Penwarden reports:

SACA met on 20 July for a catch-up. We discussed:

  •  A time and venue for holding the Just Do It DVD screening– details to be finalised shortly.
  •  Dunedin having our own “climate” elephant (Climate Change is the Elephant in the Room) – could be useful around the geology department and other places…e.g. at Council meetings? – ideas welcome!
  •  The possibility of holding a large public talk/forum focused on lignite – similar to the Denniston one.
  • Showing more films – Bimblebox and Surviving Progress – in the near future.
  • Tarsh Turner reported a successful Socialist Saturday event on July 14.

You can contact SACA via

Southland: Coal Action Murihiku (CAM)

a) NVDA (Nonviolent Direct Action) Reflection: CAM NVDA weekend, 22- 24 June at Te Tomairangi Marae, Invercargill

Jenny Campbell reflects on the hui:

It was exciting to have about 20 people participate enthusiastically in the NVDA hui weekend ably and sensitively lead by Kristin Gillies, assisted by Niahm O’Flynn and Rosemary Penwarden.

Hospitality given generously from Te Tomairangi marae hosts, scrumptious food, an awareness of the needs of others as we explored what NVDA means for us made this a special time together as we built up bonds of support and care within this huge campaign we have embarked on with CAM.

Reflecting on other protest actions – which had taken many forms – carried out over the centuries in various cultural settings, along with our involvement in some, started the conversations and listening. The theory of NVDA, definition clarifications, ways of dealing with emotional and local issues, strategising and storytelling all helped inform our perspectives, took away some of the scariness and focused our energy.

Personal experiences, passions, learnings and practice along with the facilitators being adaptable meant the local group was able to formulate a proposed action for a possible opportunity for some NVDA responses. Amid much laughter, fears, listening, stories and offers of help, a positive way forward was agreed upon. Even though the proposed plans for the weekend training could have been seen as having been ‘hi-jacked’, it seems that the strengthening of the group and feeling a sense of empowerment in the face of some despair, were all positive outcomes.

We thank Kristin in particular for his adaptability and positive engagement with our group which has enabled us to move forward on our NVDA journey. Kia kaha.

I recommend a NVDA workshop for all groups as an awareness raising exercise and for group building and bonds.

b) Coal Action Murihiku News – July 2012

Kia ora e hoa ma.

June has seen our main event as the NVDA workshop and the formulation of an action around the proposed opening of the pilot briquetting plant at Mataura – date yet to be announced. There has been general follow up from the postings of the billboards with messages about our loss of farmland in the Mataura valley.

Our second CAM newsletter has just been published with an increasing readership. If you’d like to contact or join CAM, please email me at

Members are continuing to collect signatures for the Citizens’ Initiated Referendum.

At a recent meeting in Auckland I heard that Southland has the highest number of signatures collected to date/ head of population! Kia kaha! Tumeke!

I used the excellent stall kit resources at the national Forest and Bird conference in Wellington, as well as at a 3 Tikanga Anglican Women’s Hui in Auckland, a Trans Tasman Rural Ministry Conference south of Cairns and at the 3 Tikanga Anglican General Synod in Fiji. As well as the general resources, items specific to Southland were distributed along with the ‘Just Lignite’ booklet which has been reprinted.

In all these places concerns about the present impacts of climate change, coal mining, health issues and the need for more clean green energy uses were some of the conversations I had with people, as well as people signing up to the CANA network, eager to learn more and be involved.

The next Southland event is Australia’s ‘Lock the gate’ campaigner Drew Hutton’s talk in Gore on Wed 29 August, hopefully meeting with farmers, landowners and concerned public (see Item 3 above for more details).

CAM members are very appreciative of the support they received from members of CANA around the country in making submissions to Environment Southland for the recent Proposed Southland Regional Policy Statement. Ideas about what to include in submissions helped Southlanders with their efforts and our continuing need to use every method to stop Solid Energy’s plans for Southland lignite. We noticed our helpers and fellow submitters had all been to the Summer Festival in Mataura so knew the issues and are prepared to continue their support – even from afar! Sincere appreciation.

Rangimarie, Jenny Campbell, Co- convenor CAM
8. Just Transition: Moving Away from Coal

This report from the labour movement in the US discusses how a just transition away from coal can be made in the USA.

Its conclusion is well worth reading, and just as applicable to Aotearoa:

“Today we face a global climate crisis and at the same time a global economic crisis. The horrible result can be to pit jobs against the environment. But the  transition to a clean, climate-friendly, environmentally sound economy and society is the solution to both. The issue of coal-fired power plants is a perfect example. It can—and often has become a battle over jobs versus the environment. That often translates into a battle between trade unionists and environmentalists. But this issue also provides a perfect example of how to move beyond that futile polarity. The solution is to create an energy and economic development alternative that creates jobs, putting our world on a sustainable basis.

Ultimately that will require a global green New Deal, in which the nations of the world cooperate to put millions of women and men to work, eliminating the threats to our common future. We are creating the building blocks of that new model locally as we transition from coal to renewable energy in a way that creates jobs, reconstructing our community energy systems and economies.”


  • At last, the Flat Earth Society has found a group that shares their worldview – New Zealand’s climate change deniers. They turned out at the High Court on 16 July to support the deniers’ case challening NIWA’s temperature records. :  More coverage onHot Topic and, more seriously, the  sciblogs podcast that has a good interview with Gareth Renowden on the case and Jim Renwick on the state of the NZ climate.
  • Climate Change is hitting the US – hard.  The US Dept of Agriculture has declared a state of disaster in 26 states.  The price of corn and soya hit record highs, sparking fears of a global food price crisis.  The US media is finally picking up on the connections with climate change, which is most unusual. There’s been a lot written about it, but, to us, one of the best pieces we’ve seen is by‘s Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone Magazine 


We rely on your generous donations to keep the campaign going.  A big THANK YOU to those of you who are already contributing:  hugely appreciated.

Here are the account details:

Coal Action Network
38 9011 0484435 00


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