Note: As the acronym “CAN” is the same as that of a couple of other activist groups, we are changing our acronym to “CANA” – Coal Action Network Aotearoa – which was already the title of this blog.

Now for some news:

James Hansen Visit in May

The campaign against lignite mining in Southland will get a major boost with the visit of leading climate scientist Dr James Hansen. He is visiting Aotearoa from 11-21 May and will be involved in a range of events throughout the country.

The title of the majority of his talks will be “Human-Made Climate Change: A Scientific, Moral and Legal Issue”, and he will focusing in particular on the crucial need to stop the expansion of coal-mining if we want to retain a liveable climate.

There will be lots more to come on the Hansen visit, including meeting dates and times, and planned media appearances. We will bring you this information as it becomes available, but for the story so far, check out this post:

Public meetings with Jeanette Fitzsimons: Invercargill and Dunedin

Jeanette Fitzsimons has now spoken to public meetings organised by CANA in Wellington and Auckland – at each one, there has been a good turnout, and a good reaction to her message that the best thing to do with Southland lignite is to leave it right where it is, safely in the ground. In April, Jeanette will speaking in Invercargill and Dunedin. Due to the Christchurch earthquake of 22 February, we have unfortunately had to postpone Jeanette’s Christchurch public meeting indefinitely.

Invercargill Public Meeting

Forest and Bird are hosting a CAN Aotearoa Public Meeting with Jeanette Fitzsimons
Tuesday 19 April, 7pm – 9pm
Holy Trinity Church Hall, 61 King St, Windsor, Invercargill
Contact: Jenny Campbell, jennycam [at] xtra [dot] co [dot] nz
Dunedin Public Meeting
Wednesday 20 April, 6:30pm
Archway 3 Lecture Theatre, corner Union Street East and Leith Walk, Dunedin

Please note the change from the previously advertised Dunedin venue – the meeting has been moved to a bigger venue!

Ron Sakolsky and Sheila Nopper meetings
Ron Sakolsky (anarchist, pirate radio broadcaster, critic, academic and anti-coal-mining activist visiting from Vancouver Island) and Sheila Nopper (poet/activist) held a series of meetings around the country in March, showing the film End:Civ and holding discussions on the role of direct action in campaigns for climate justice. We had an especially good turnout at their Dunedin meeting and got plenty of new names for our supporters’ list, plus a lot of thought-provoking discussion.
Stop Deep Sea Oil
Although we are focused on coal in general, and lignite in particular, we are keen to support other campaigns against the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. So we are very pleased to be supporting the Stop Deep Sea Oil campaign. Here’s the summary from the new Stop Deep Sea Oil website:

“The New Zealand Government is inviting foreign oil companies like Petrobras to drill for oil in some of New Zealand’s deepest coastal waters.

East Cape iwi Te Whanau a Apanui have called on the rest of New Zealand to join them in defending the spectacular East Cape from deep sea oil drilling.

In response to that call a peaceful flotilla of protest ships will sail from Auckland on Sunday 27 March to arrive in Opotiki on 2 April.

Come on board in defence of the coastlines and oceans we all treasure.

Save New Zealand from an oil disaster! Stop Deep Sea Oil.”

To find more information and help with the campaign:

And very important, leave your message to the flotilla at:

20 April: Day Of Action Against Extraction

As the previous items shows, the plans to mine 6 billion tonnes of Southland lignite are only part of the Government’s full-speed-ahead attitude to resource extraction.

20 April has been declared a global “Day Of Action Against Extraction”. What will be happening on this day locally is still to be determined – other than Jeanette’s Dunedin public meeting! – but you can read the call for action here:

Solid Energy Pilot Briquetting Plant – Resource Consent Notification Status

At the time of writing, there has still been no word on whether the Gore District Council and Environment Southland will notify the resource consent application for Solid Energy’s planned pilot briquetting plant – which represents the thin end of the lignite exploitation wedge – or whether this application will be non-notified.

If the application is notified, we’ll let you know what you can do to help oppose consent being granted.

What You Can Do

While we wait to see if the resource consent application is notified, there is still plenty you can do to aid the campaign:

* Contact your local MP to tell them you are opposed to any exploitation of Southland lignite. (Not just National MPs, either – Labour has not yet announced its policy on Southland lignite, and the Maori Party may play a key role in political decisions on the issue.)

* Write a letter to your local paper – you can use the resources on our blog,, to help with this.

* Get more names for our supporters’ list. This is CANA’s key goal for the first half of 2011 – we want to get as many supporters as possible, to maximise the effectiveness of our actions in the second half of 2011. Please send names of people who want to go on the supporters’ list to coalactionnetwork [at] gmail [dot] com with “New supporters” in the subject line.

Tim Jones
for the Coal Action Network Aotearoa