Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior blocks the State Owned Enterprise Solid Energy’s coal ship the Hellenic Sea from leaving the Port of Lyttelton. (C)  Greenpeace / Dimitri Sharomov
Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior blocks the State Owned Enterprise Solid Energy’s coal ship the Hellenic Sea from leaving the Port of Lyttelton. (C) Greenpeace / Dimitri Sharomov
As the dust settles after yesterday's action it's good to see that the story has been picked up widely in the media and we have managed to draw attention to the double standards at play with climate policy in New Zealand.

The message that there is no future in coal has been communicated loud and clear to Solid Energy, the Government and other political parties.

This morning there is a story running in the media about a claim that, due to our action on the coal shipment yesterday in Lyttelton, police did not have enough staff to respond to an incident in Christchurch which led to a police officer being assaulted by a young woman.

While we have every sympathy for the officer who was assaulted, we also believe that it is unreasonable to place the blame on Greenpeace. It wasn't our decision that the police should choose to prioritise getting a coal shipment to market on time over other policing priorities.

For 30 years now Greenpeace has conducted peaceful non violent direct action and caused harm to no one.

The police response to the Rainbow Warrior activity yesterday was excessive and out of proportion to what was actually required. Greenpeace cannot be held responsible for police decisions regarding their own deployment.

Indeed there were so many police on the scene they were tripping over each other and many of the officers present stood around for the duration and did nothing at all.

Direct action is an important and valid form of protest and is a proud part of NZ's history. The Springbok tours and the anti nuclear demonstrations are good examples. If the organisers of such events did not do them for fear of the police not being capable of a measured response - where would we be now?

The real issue here is that we are fast running out of time to act on climate change, and yet New Zealand continues to mine, export and burn coal in gross quantities, and there are plans to expand all three activities.

Not only are we failing domestically, with skyrocketing emissions and an ETS that's failing to deter domestic coal use, but we're also upping our contribution to the global problem by allowing the expansion of coal exports.

The Government has put some commendable climate policies in place, such as a renewable electricity target, but the good of this is undone if we're still exporting the problem to other countries.

It is, as the Climate Change Minister himself pointed out this week, not called "global" warming for nothing. Emissions anywhere in the world affect us all, and we shouldn't be adding to them.