Tauranga coal action update

Press release - August 22, 2003
Three Greenpeace activists successfully climbed on to and hung from the port side of the vessel Atermon as it berthed at 4.00pm today in Port Tauranga, preventing 30,000 tonnes of coal from being unloaded.

In all, eight activists were arrested and charged, and then released by police.

Greenpeace spokesperson Vanessa Atkinson says she was concerned by the approach the Tauranga harbour authorities took to a peaceful action.

"The Port authorities acted in a reckless manner by ramming our boats".

"Contrary to the comments of the harbourmaster on National Radio this evening, Greenpeace did not act dangerously, and we did get activists on to the side of the ship."

"Three climbers got up on to the ship and unfurled banners reading 'Reject Polluting Power'".

Genesis is negotiating to import one million tonnes of coal every year, on top of a recent deal struck with Solid Energy for 11 million tonnes of coal over the next eight years. The coal is to be burnt at Genesis's Huntly Power Station, fuelling global warming by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Greenpeace is calling for the Government to step in and cancel current negotiations for the further importation of one million tonnes of coal a year. State owned enterprises such as Genesis must be brought into line with government policy and instead invest in clean renewable energy such as wind.

New Zealand is moving into a phase where the country will be burning more coal for electricity generation than at any other time in its history.