After arrests Greenpeace calls for protest outside Fonterra headquarters

Press release - November 16, 2009
The four Greenpeace activists arrested today after closing down a Southland lignite coalmine say they succeeded in drawing attention to Fonterra’s expanding use of coal for milk processing. They labelled the burning of around 450,000 tonnes of coal every year Fonterra’s climate crime with a large banner across the mine.

Greenpeace activists shut down a pit of a southern lignite coal mine used by Fonterra to help fuel operations at it's nearby Edendale dairy factory, labeliing it another Fonterra Climate Crime, near Invercargill, 17 November 2009. At dawn this morning activists unfurled a massive 40x40 meter banner reading Fonterra Climate Crime on the ground of the opencast mine. Other activists have blocked one of the entrances and locked themselves onto some of the mine's machinery.

Greenpeace is now calling on New Zealanders to attend a peaceful lunchtime protest outside Fonterra headquarters 9 Princes Street, in Auckland, next Tuesday 24 November at 12.30pm to demonstrate their opposition to Fonterra's climate crimes. There is a Facebook page set up for the event and people can RSVP online.

Three weeks out from the Copenhagen international climate talks, Greenpeace says Fonterra remains the biggest block to New Zealand doing the right thing on climate change and it is calling on John Key to bring New Zealand's biggest greenhouse gas emitter under control.

Today's protest action at the New Vale lignite coalmine follows September's blockade of an Indonesian shipment of palm-based animal feed entering Port Tauranga and another shipment protest at Taranaki at which activists also highlighted Fonterra's climate crimes.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner Simon Boxer said the activists who shut down the New Vale mine early this morning by blocking one of the entrances and locking themselves to diggers realised they would be breaking some laws.

"They see Fonterra's increasing climate pollution as a far greater crime and decided to do what they could to stop the damage to the climate and to take action to raise public awareness of the issues."

Boxer said Fonterra's intensification of dairying in New Zealand meant it has put profit before the climate.

"Fonterra always goes for the cheapest alternative like dirty lignite coal for energy or unsustainable palm-based animal feed, grown at the expense of Indonesian rainforests.

"The short term solution is to switch to biomass for energy instead of coal and to stop palm kernel imports. Long term, Fonterra needs to move away from its intensive dairying model towards smart farming to provide a secure base for our industry, our economy and our environment."

Other contacts: Simon Boxer, Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner, 021 905 579 Dean Baigent-Mercer, Greenpeace New Zealand communications & media, 021 104 4101 Phil Crawford, Greenpeace New Zealand communications & media, 021 2299 594