How Greenpeace changed the world
Greenpeace campaigns are changing the world for the better. From stopping government-funded irrigation schemes to ending oil exploration, here are some of the victories Greenpeace has achieved here in Aotearoa.
Greenpeace’s vision is a greener, healthier and more peaceful planet – one that can sustain life for generations to come.
Powered by individual donations, dedicated volunteers and millions of supporters around the world, our campaigns combine cutting-edge science, investigative journalism, political lobbying, mass mobilisation and creative confrontation.
Of course, we’re still a long way from winning. But these successes – nearly always won in alliance with grassroots groups and other organisations – show a glimpse of what’s possible.
International Court of Justice joins Greenpeace in condemning French nuclear tests
23 June 1973: The International Court of Justice in The Hague condemns the French Government’s atmospheric nuclear weapons testing programme after the governments of New Zealand, Australia and Fiji take a case against the tests to the court. Greenpeace had sent boats to protest at the Moruroa Atoll test site in 1972 and 1973.
France announces end to atmospheric nuclear tests
24 September 1974: France announces at the UN General Assembly that it will no longer test its nuclear weapons in the atmosphere but instead move them into shafts drilled down into the rock under the lagoon at Moruroa Atoll.
Parliament passes Marine Mammal Act
20 October 1978: The NZ Parliament passes the Marine Mammals Protection Act, which outlawed commercial whaling in New Zealand. The move followed submissions from Greenpeace and other environment and conservation groups.
Royal Commission rejects nuclear power
April 1978: A Royal Commission on nuclear power generation in New Zealand concludes in its report to the NZ Government that it rejects nuclear power generation. The report followed a campaign by Greenpeace and other environment groups that gathered 333,087 signatures on a petition against nuclear power in 1976. This represented over 10% of the total NZ population of three million.
IWC votes for global moratorium on commercial whaling
23 July 1982: The International Whaling Commission (IWC) votes to implement a global moratorium on commercial whaling. The vote came after an eight year Greenpeace global campaign against commercial whaling, including Greenpeace NZ.
South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty established
11 December 1986: The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty enters into force, which was a long-standing goal of Greenpeace’s nuclear campaign.
Nuclear Free Zone established in New Zealand
8 June 1987: The NZ Government passes the Nuclear-Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act establishing a nuclear-free zone in New Zealand. The historic move followed a long-running campaign of peaceful direct action protests to stop visits by US and UK nuclear-armed and -powered ships that were organised by the peace movement, including Greenpeace’s boat SV Vega and the Auckland Peace Squadron. The law banned all nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered ships and submarines from New Zealand.
Montreal Protocol agrees a global phase-out of CFCs and HCFCs
15 September 1987: The Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer is agreed and opened for signature at the UN in Vienna. The Protocol was designed to protect the Earth’s protective ozone layer by phasing out the production and use of CFCs and HCFCs as refrigerants and aerosol propellants. The phase-out was supported by all environment groups, including Greenpeace which started campaigning against the use of CFCs in 1986.
NZ’s first marine mammal sanctuary established
December 1988: The Government declares New Zealand’s first Marine Mammal Sanctuary in Akaroa Harbour and offshore around the adjacent Banks Peninsula coast. The move followed a campaign to protect the threatened Hector’s Dolphin that included Greenpeace and other environment and conservation groups.
NZ Government ends its support for mining and oil exploitation in Antarctica
25 August 1990: NZ Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer announces that the NZ Government will drop its support for mining and oil exploitation in Antarctica just hours after meeting with Greenpeace campaigners and activists dressed in penguin costumes as they protested outside Parliament during MV Gondwana’s visit to Wellington.
IUCN General Assembly backs Auckland Islands Marine Mammal Sanctuary proposal
November 1990: Greenpeace’s proposal for a Marine Mammal Sanctuary 100-km offshore around NZ’s Subantarctic Auckland Islands to protect rare and threatened New Zealand Sea Lions is passed unanimously at the 18th IUCN General Assembly held in Australia. Every year more NZ Sea Lions are killed by drowning in the Arrow Squid fishery trawl nets that are used around the islands.
NZ Government establishes an Auckland Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary
March 1991: The NZ Government establishes a Marine Mammal Sanctuary 12-km offshore around NZ’s Subantarctic Auckland Islands. Greenpeace says the sanctuary falls well short of its original proposal and urges the NZ Government to extend it out to the 100-km boundary without further delay.
Antarctic Treaty nations agree to protect Antarctica from mining and oil exploitation
4 October 1991: Greenpeace celebrates Antarctic Treaty nations agreeing at a meeting in Madrid to protect Antarctica from mining and oil and exploitation following a seven year campaign to protect the continent, including setting up Greenpeace’s World Park Antarctica Base there and a campaign to stop the NZ Govt’s support for mining there. The agreement committed signatories to “comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems” and designated Antarctica as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science”.
New protections for Southern Ocean seabirds
October 1991: Greenpeace welcomes moves by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in Hobart to require fishing vessels to use bird-scaring lines and prohibit fishing vessels from discharging fish offal into the water within the Southern Ocean CCAMLR zone to reduce the number of seabirds killed. The moves were adopted after Greenpeace tabled photographic evidence it had gathered of albatrosses being killed by the Soviet longline fishing fleet in the CCAMLR zone earlier that year during an expedition by MV Gondwana.
Moratorium on Sarawak tropical timber imports
March 1992: NZ Timber Importers’ Association agrees to a moratorium on tropical timber imports to NZ from Sarawak, at the urging of NZ environment groups including Greenpeace.
France joins nuclear weapons testing moratorium
8 April 1992: France announces it will join a nuclear weapons testing moratorium a few weeks after SV Rainbow Warrior II sailed into the military exclusion zone around Moruroa Atoll.
Tasman Pulp and Paper closes Chlorine-making equipment
April 1992: The Tasman Pulp and Paper Company closes down its Chlorine-making equipment in one of its two pulp bleaching lines at its Kawerau factory, cutting the amount of dioxin in the effluent it dumps into the Tarawera River. The move followed a long-running Greenpeace campaign, including a visit to the Bay of Plenty by SV Rainbow Warrior II in 1991.
NZ Government commits to sign the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
June 1992: Greenpeace welcomes news that the NZ Government will sign the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) along with over 180 other countries at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Greenpeace had campaigned for NZ to sign it over the previous three years, including sending SV Rainbow Warrior II on a mission to Rio for the duration of the conference to support the campaign.
USA joins Russia and France in nuclear weapons testing moratorium
24 September 1992: Greenpeace welcomes news that the USA had joined the existing nuclear testing moratorium originally declared by Soviet President Gorbachev on 5 October 1991.
UN General Assembly votes for a global ban on driftnet fishing on the high seas
31 December 1992: A global ban on driftnet fishing on the high seas is passed by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) following a major campaign by Greenpeace, including a 1990 SV Rainbow Warrior II expedition from Auckland out into the Tasman Sea to gather evidence of the devastating effects on marine wildlife of ‘wall of death’ fishing. The ban had been proposed by the NZ Government at the 1990 UNGA.
GE field trials declined, leading to new legislation
December 1992: Greenpeace successfully applies for a review of two genetically engineered (GE) field trial applications near Gisborne. As a result, both applications are declined, and the case highlights the fact that NZ has no legislation protecting the environment and human health from the commercial importation and exploitation of GE organisms. That led to new (HSNO) legislation being drafted and passed in 1996 which incorporated “the precautionary approach”.
Auckland Regional Council agrees to upgrade Auckland’s sewage treatment system
1992: Auckland Regional Council (ARC) agrees to invest in major improvements to Auckland’s sewage treatment system and improve trade waste regulations. A new trade waste by-law excluded some toxic wastes and set more stringent limits on others. The ARC also agreed to replace Auckland’s old sewage treatment plant at Mangere with a new land-based tertiary treatment system including biological and ultraviolet light treatment of the wastewater. Works started at Mangere in 1998 and were completed in 2005. These decisions were made following public consultations in 1990-91 with mana whenua and community and environment groups, including Greenpeace. In 1990, Greenpeace had blocked the eight effluent outfalls and called on the ARC to end the effluent discharges into Manukau Harbour. These decisions led to a major improvement in water quality in the Manukau Harbour. Residual biosolids are now mixed with soil and used to rehabilitate a local quarry site.
South Pacific Forum bans trade in toxic waste
August 1993: The South Pacific Forum agrees a regional waste trade ban to prevent toxic waste being shipped from industrialised countries and dumped in the region. Greenpeace had worked to support this goal alongside various member states, including the Marshall Islands, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
Ngakawau dam rejected
August 1993: The NZ Government rejects a proposal to build the huge Ngakawau dam which would have drained 23 West Coast rivers and flooded 2,500 hectares of ancient native forest that was habitat for endangered Blue Ducks and Great Spotted Kiwis. It followed a campaign by environment and conservation groups, including Greenpeace delivering a life-sized papier-mâché white elephant to the Beehive, urging the NZ Government to stop the building of more new power stations and instead invest in energy efficiency measures to reduce demand.
London Dumping Convention agrees a global ban on waste dumping at sea
November 1993: The London Dumping Convention agrees a global ban on ocean waste dumping and the ocean incineration of industrial waste after a long-running Greenpeace campaign, including in the South Pacific.
NZ Government calls-in the proposed Stratford power station
9 December 1993: The NZ Government sets up a Board of Inquiry into the proposed Electricorp gas-fired power station at Stratford to consider the impact of its carbon emissions after Greenpeace requested the Environment Minister call-in the decision under the Resource Management Act (RMA). This was the first time that ministerial call-in provisions of the RMA were used.
IWC agrees a Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary
27 May 1994: The International Whaling Commission (IWC) votes to establish a 50 million square kilometre Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, following a campaign by Greenpeace, which included a New Zealand tour to promote the sanctuary.
Greenpeace helps set-up a new Solomon Islands eco-timber project
August 1994: Greenpeace helps establish an ecological alternative to industrial-scale logging in the Solomon Islands with the establishment of a new village-based ‘ecotimber’ project.
French Government abandons its Dumont D’Urville airstrip in Antarctica
September 1994: The French Government abandons the new airstrip it built at Dumont D’Urville in Antarctica following a long-running Greenpeace campaign.
NZ Government halves the annual Chatham Rise Orange Roughy fishing quota
October 1994: Greenpeace welcomes a halving of the annual Orange Roughy fishing quota by the NZ Fisheries Minister. This followed Greenpeace’s request for a Judicial Review in the NZ High Court of the Minister’s 1993/94 Orange Roughy Chatham Rise quota decision, which was filed in 1993.
NZ ratifies the Antarctic Environmental Protocol
October 1994: Greenpeace welcomes ratification by the NZ Parliament of the historic Antarctic Environmental Protocol which protects the continent from mining and oil exploitation.
Collaborative Maisin tapa cloth project established
July 1994: The Maisin community in Papua New Guinea, Greenpeace, and the University of California Art Museum set up a new project to market in California and NZ sustainably produced tapa cloth artworks produced by Maisin artists as a sustainable income alternative to large-scale logging of the Maisin tribe’s extensive ancient rainforests.
Judge rejects proposed food irradiation factory in Mangakino
February 1995: Greenpeace celebrates the rejection by a judge of a proposed food irradiation factory in Mangakino (Waikato), after working alongside the local community to stop it.
The Asian Development Bank ends its funding of new nuclear power projects
1995: At its annual meeting held in Auckland, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) ends its financial support for new nuclear power projects in the Asia-Pacific region, a move that Greenpeace had called for in the previous years.
NZ Government establishes new $3.5 million Organochlorines Programme
October 1995: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s new $3.5 million Organochlorines Programme which is to facilitate and promote safe new clean-up methods for toxic PCP and dioxin site contamination. It came after a long-running Greenpeace campaign.
High Court ruling in favour of precautionary approach with Orange Roughy fisheries
31 November 1995: Greenpeace cautiously welcomes a High Court ruling in the case of Greenpeace vs NZ Minister of Fisheries that the precautionary approach must be applied when setting fishing quotas. The ruling meant that, where there was a lack of scientific information, the Minister must err on the side of precaution.
The end of the French Government’s nuclear testing programme
January 1996: Greenpeace led a successful global campaign from June 1995 to Jan 1996, to end the French Government’s nuclear testing programme and demand a UN Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty after the new French President Chirac temporarily resumed nuclear testing at Moruroa Atoll.
Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting condemns French Government’s resumption of nuclear testing
11 November 1995: Greenpeace welcomes a special statement by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Auckland condemning the French Government’s resumption of nuclear testing and calling for an international treaty banning all nuclear tests and nuclear weapons. Greenpeace had attended the meeting as an observer and encouraged attendees to condemn the nuclear tests.
The French Government ends its 30-year nuclear testing programme
28 January 1996: The French Government ends its 30-year nuclear weapons testing programme after a total of 210 tests. The day before, Greenpeace activists abseiled down to the 8th floor of the building housing the French Embassy in Wellington in response to a nuclear test to hang a large banner that read, “Last Test Ever?”
France announces it will dismantle its nuclear testing facilities in the South Pacific
22 February 1996: The French Government announces it will dismantle its nuclear testing facilities at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls. Dismantling was completed in 1998. France is the only Nuclear Weapon State to have done so.
France stops production of fissile materials for nuclear warheads
22 February 1996: The French Government announces it will also halt production of fissile materials for its nuclear weapons. In June 1996 its Uranium enrichment factory at Pierrelatte stopped producing highly enriched Uranium for nuclear warheads and then in 1998 it began to dismantle its military Plutonium reprocessing factory at Marcoule and the Uranium enrichment factory Pierrelatte. France is the only Nuclear Weapon State to have done so.
UN historically votes for adopting a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
10 September 1996: Greenpeace celebrated an historic United Nations vote adopting a zero-threshold Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty by an overwhelming majority of 158 votes, following Greenpeace’s 25 year campaign to end nuclear testing. All five Nuclear Weapon States – France, China, USA, UK and Russia – signed it.
France scraps its intermediate-range nuclear missiles
16 September 1996: The French Government orders the deactivation and scrapping of all 18 of France’s S3D intermediate-range nuclear missiles on the Plateau d’Albion. Over the next two years the missile silos and command centre there were fully dismantled at a cost of US$77.5 million.
France, USA and UK sign the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty
25 March 1996: Greenpeace welcomes news that France, the USA and the UK have signed the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty.
NZ passes Ozone Layer Protection Act
24 July 1996: The NZ Government legislates to phase-out ozone-depleting CFCs and HCFCs under the Ozone Layer Protection Act. The move came four years after a team of Greenpeace climbers scaled Parliament to attach a giant pair of inflatable sunglasses on the roof and deliver a petition with 18,000 signatures and 2,000 letters urging the Government to move faster to phase-out CFCs and HCFCs in 1992. Scientists now say that if they had not been phased-out in the 1990s, the CFC and HCFC chemicals used in refrigerators would have driven 2.5 degrees Celcius of extra climate heating by 2100.
Hazardous Substances & New Organisms law includes “precautionary approach”
10 June 1996: Greenpeace welcomes a vote by MPs to retain the “precautionary approach” in the new Hazardous Substances and New Organisms law, despite lobbying by the chemical industry and business groups to the contrary. It followed Greenpeace sending every MP a green condom and urging them to “take precautions for the planet” by including the wording in the new law.
NZ Government halts sales of lead-contaminated PVC plastic blinds
July 1996: The NZ Government halts sales of lead-contaminated PVC plastic blinds after new evidence emerged that they could cause toxic contamination. This followed a Greenpeace campaign to phase-out PVC imports because the vinyl chloride monomer used to make PVC plastics had recently been re-classified as a human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
NZ Government adopts policy to phase-out organochlorines by the year 2000
February 1997: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s new policy to “phase out chemicals such as organochlorines by the year 2000”. It followed the publication in 1994 of a Greenpeace report entitled Zero by 2000, which urged a phase-out of toxic organochlorine pollution by the year 2000.
Contact Energy agrees to cut its carbon emissions and close its New Plymouth oil- and gas-fuelled power station
July 1997: Greenpeace signs an agreement with State-owned power company Contact Energy to cut its carbon emissions and close its 600 megawatts New Plymouth oil- and gas-fuelled power station as a condition of building a smaller, more efficient 380 megawatts gas-fuelled power station at Otahuhu in South Auckland. This was the first legal agreement by a power company to cut its carbon emissions.
Anchor agrees to cut the size of its new Te Rapa gas-fuelled power station
May 1997: Anchor agrees to cut the size of its new Te Rapa gas-fuelled power station from 250 megawatts to 45 megawatts as a consent condition in return for Greenpeace withdrawing its appeal against the company’s resource consents.
NZ Government bans all fishing at the Poor Knights Islands
30 May 1997: Greenpeace celebrates the NZ Government’s decision to ban all fishing at the Poor Knights Islands off the east coast of Northland following a campaign by Greenpeace and other environment and community groups.
Greenpeace welcomes the Government’s announcement it will regulate toxic waste
September 1997: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s announcement that it will clamp down on a list of problem toxic wastes through nationwide regulations after a long-running Greenpeace campaign.
Two thousand people join Greenpeace’s new Solar Pioneers programme
September 1997: Two thousand people join Greenpeace’s new ‘Solar Pioneers’ programme in its first few months, pledging to install solar hot water systems on their rooftops to help kick start the NZ solar energy market.
Solomon Islands Government imposes a moratorium on new commercial logging licences
February 1998: Greenpeace welcomes news that the incoming Solomon Islands Government will impose a moratorium on issuing new commercial logging licences. Greenpeace had been campaigning over the previous five for a shift away from industrial-scale logging and promoting village-based eco-timber as a ecologically sustainable alternative.
Greenpeace welcomes closure of polluting South Auckland waste incinerator
24 November 1998: Greenpeace welcomes news that a polluting South Auckland waste incinerator will close and switch to a state-of-the-art enclosed steam sterilisation system. It came after a 15-month Greenpeace campaign which included two direct actions that stopped the incinerator from firing-up and burning PVC waste and emitting dioxins from its two giant chimneys.
Greenpeace and Mercury Energy sign a solar net-metering agreement
11 December 1998: Greenpeace and Mercury Energy sign the first solar net-metering agreement which allows Greenpeace to sell excess electricity from its rooftop solar panels into the Auckland grid when surplus electricity is generated on weekends and receive payment for it by Mercury Energy.
Waikato Regional Council rejects proposed coal-fuelled waste incineration factory at Meremere
October 1999: Greenpeace welcomes news that a proposed huge coal-fired waste incineration factory at the moth-balled Meremere coal-fired power station in the Waikato had been rejected by Waikato Regional Council. It came after a two-year campaign against the proposal by Greenpeace and others. The factory would have produced a huge amount of toxic dioxin emissions and harmful carbon emissions.
The NZ Government announces a moratorium on GE research
17 April 2000: The NZ Government announces a moratorium on genetic engineering (GE) research, a move that Greenpeace had been calling for since 1996.
Polluting Wellington waste incinerator shuts down
August 2001: Greenpeace welcomes news that a polluting waste incinerator in Miramar, Wellington, has shut down and will be replaced with a new safer enclosed steam sterilisation unit. The move followed Greenpeace protests that closed down the company’s polluting waste incinerator in Auckland in 1997 and 1998.
Major NZ food companies commit to go GE-Free
May 2001: Greenpeace welcomes news that major NZ food companies are going GE-free including Unilever, Heinz Wattie’s, Goodman Fielder, Cerebos Greggs, New Zealand Dairy Foods, Fonterra, Progressive Enterprises Ltd, Pillsbury, Quality Bakers, and Frucor. These moves followed Greenpeace’s campaign urging consumers to pressure food companies to go GE-Free.
NZ Government signs the new Persistent Organic Pollutants Treaty
24 May 2001: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s decision to sign the new Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Treaty which requires signatories to take action to eliminate the ‘dirty dozen’ POPs including dioxins. The move came following a long-running campaign by Greenpeace and community groups that urged the NZ Government to sign the landmark treaty.
NZ Government passes a law enabling NZ to join international efforts to combat climate change
14 November 2002: Greenpeace praises the NZ Government for passing legislation that enables New Zealand to play its part and join with international efforts to combat climate change through the new Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC.
Polluting Christchurch Airport waste incinerator shuts down
26 February 2003: Greenpeace welcomes news that a waste incinerator at Christchurch Airport will close and be replaced by a new safer enclosed steam sterilisation unit. The move followed a letter-writing campaign by Greenpeace and others.
NZ Government establishes $9 million Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund
11 September 2003: Greenpeace welcomes news that the NZ Government will fund a $9 million Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund to help regional councils investigate and clean-up PCP, dioxin, and pesticide contaminated sites and dumps.
NZ Government moves to ban new high temperature hazardous waste incinerators
17 November 2003: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s move to ban new high temperature hazardous waste incinerators, but is critical the ban does not extend to existing high temperature hazardous waste incinerators such as one at the large Dow chemical factory in New Plymouth.
Poor Knights Islands become the world’s first no-go zone for oil tankers
19 May 2004: The Poor Knights Islands become the world’s first no-go zone for oil tankers and other large ships, a move that Greenpeace had proposed in 1996. The International Maritime Organisation designated the marine area between Cape Brett and Bream Head, including the waters around the Poor Knights Islands, as a “mandatory area to be avoided” by all ships longer than 45-metres out to 9.26 kilometres from the coastline and the islands.
NZ Government ratifies the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety
24 September 2004: Greenpeace applauds the NZ Government’s decision to ratify the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety which, for the first time under international law, creates a requirement that countries take precautionary measures to prevent GE organisms from causing harm to biodiversity and human health.
NZ Government bans the building of new high temperature hazardous waste incinerators
8 October 2004: The NZ Government bans the building of new high temperature hazardous waste incinerators under the Resource Management Act, using new national environmental standards aimed at preventing the release of dioxins and other toxic pollutants to air. The move followed a long-running campaign against waste incineration by Greenpeace and community groups.
Decontamination begins at former NZ Fruitgrowers’ Chemical Company site in Mapua
October 2004: Environmental Decontamination Ltd begins using an on-site facility to decontaminate severe toxic pesticide and herbicide contamination in soil at the Mapua site of the former NZ Fruitgrowers’ Chemical Company, funded by the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund. The clean-up was undertaken after an appeal by Greenpeace and Forest and Bird led to improvements in the consent conditions being adopted in 2003. The clean-up finished in July 2007.
Polluting Auckland Airport waste incinerator to close down in 2006
14 July 2005: Greenpeace welcomes news that the polluting Auckland Airport waste incinerator will close in 2006 and be replaced with a safer enclosed state-of-the-art steam sterilisation unit. This followed a long-running campaign by Greenpeace and local community groups to shut down the incinerator due to dioxin contamination.
Great Bear Rainforest protected after decade-long campaign
7 February 2006: Greenpeace welcomes news that the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) in Canada will be protected from clearcut logging after a decade-long campaign. Greenpeace NZ participated in the global campaign to save this temperate rainforest on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia, which is part of the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world. Greenpeace NZ had earlier called a boycott of Western Red Cedar imports from Canada sourced from the GBR.
Mighty River Power scraps proposed Marsden B coal-fired power station
7 March 2007: Greenpeace heralds Mighty River Power’s decision to scrap its proposed Marsden B coal-fired power station after a three-year campaign against it by Iwi, the local community, and Greenpeace.
Major wind energy project near Wellington approved
16 May 2007: Greenpeace applauds the Environment Court’s decision to approve a major wind energy project near Wellington. Greenpeace NZ supported the project and joined the appeal in the Environment Court because of its significance in helping NZ reduce carbon emissions.
Orange Roughy and Hoki annual quotas cut
25 September 2007: Greenpeace welcomes new Hoki and Orange Roughy quota cuts, but warns that wider fisheries closures and more effective management measures are needed to safeguard stocks and marine habitats in the long run.
NZ Government announces new thermal generation moratorium
4 December 2007: Greenpeace applauds the NZ Government’s new thermal generation moratorium but is disappointed the legislation will not also require cuts to existing carbon emissions.
NZ Government announces four new marine mammal sanctuaries
30 May 2008: The NZ Government announces four new marine mammal sanctuaries, region-level fishing bans, and other restrictions on set-net fishing and trawling in coastal habitat used by Maui and Hector’s dolphins after years of public pressure from environment and conservation groups including Greenpeace.
Annual Southern Bluefin Tuna quota cut by 20%
11 February 2009: The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna cuts the annual catch quota by 20% for the 2010/2011 fishing seasons after a long-running Greenpeace campaign. Greenpeace describes it as a half-hearted attempt to halt the decline of a species in a fishery that should already have been classified as “collapsed”.
NZ Government does a U-turn on ‘Schedule 4’ public conservation land mining plans
20 July 2010: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s U-turn on mining ‘Schedule 4’ protected public conservation lands following a short sharp campaign culminating with a massive public march of 40,000 people against the plans in Auckland on 1 May 2010, organised by Greenpeace and others.
Brazilian oil giant Petrobras pulls out of New Zealand
4 December 2012: Brazilian oil giant Petrobras pulls out of New Zealand and hands back its offshore oil prospecting permits to the NZ Government. Greenpeace describes the move as “a victory for Kiwis opposed to risky deep sea drilling”, which followed a long-running at-sea campaign by te Whanau-a-Apanui, Greenpeace, and the Oil-Free Seas Flotilla.
Oil giant Shell ditches plans to drill for oil in the Arctic in 2013
26 February 2013: Greenpeace welcomes news that oil giant Shell has ditched its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic in 2013, a year after Greenpeace NZ and actress Lucy Lawless blocked the company’s oil exploration ship from leaving Taranaki.
Sealord announces phase-out of destructive tuna fishing method
9 May 2013: Greenpeace welcomes news that Sealord will phase-out a destructive tuna fishing method that kills sharks, turtles and baby tuna. The move came after Greenpeace NZ targeted Sealord’s tuna brands.
NZ Government passes new law banning shark finning
9 January 2014: Greenpeace welcomes aspects of a new law banning shark finning, but says that the chance for NZ to catch up with international efforts in shark conservation is being missed. Greenpeace was part of the NZ Shark Alliance that campaigned for the ban.
Shell abandons its oil drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic
30 September 2015: Shell abandons its oil drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic in the face of mounting public opposition from Greenpeace and grassroots ‘people power’ activism from New Zealand and North America to Europe and the Arctic.
Shell delays its plan to drill for oil and gas in the Great South Basin
1 October 2015: Shell delays its plan to drill for oil and gas in the Great South Basin following public opposition from Greenpeace and Oil-Free groups in the South Island.
Government owned farmer announces end to Palm Kernel
8 August 2016: Landcorp announces it will stop using palm kernel expeller (PKE) imported from overseas as a feed on its farms. The move followed a nine-year Greenpeace campaign to stop PKE imports to NZ.
Huge Ross Sea Ocean Sanctuary to be established off Antarctica
November 2016: Greenpeace welcomes news that a 1.5 million square kilometre Ross Sea Ocean Sanctuary is to be established off Antarctica after its approval by 24 countries at the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Environment and conservation groups including Greenpeace had campaigned for the sanctuary for five years.
Fonterra announces it will clean-up its use of palm kernel expeller
12 August 2016: Greenpeace welcomes Fonterra’s announcement that it will clean up its use of palm kernel expeller (PKE) and use only ‘responsible palm oil products’ throughout its global supply chains as a good first step, but says the dairy giant must move towards a full phase-out as soon as possible. This followed an eight year campaign against Fonterra’s use of PKE imported from SE Asia.
Shell offloads its $1 billion New Zealand portfolio
23 August 2016: Greenpeace welcomes news that oil giant Shell has advised its investment bank to offload its $1 billion New Zealand portfolio, describing it as another big nail in the coffin of the NZ Government’s petroleum agenda
Auckland Council votes to oppose the Government’s offshore oil agenda
10 November 2016: Greenpeace welcomes Auckland Council’s vote to oppose the Government’s offshore oil agenda in New Zealand following a mobilisation against offshore oil exploration in the city by Iwi, Greenpeace, and others.
Texan oil giant Anadarko culls its search for oil in New Zealand
9 December 2016: Greenpeace welcomes news that Texan oil giant Anadarko is the latest company to cull its search for oil in New Zealand
Sanford and Moana to reduce commercial set-net fishing in some Maui Dolphin habitat
15 December 2016: Greenpeace welcomes as a small step in the right direction a new commitment from fishing companies Sanford and Moana to reduce commercial set-net fishing in some of the habitat of the critically endangered Maui Dolphin.
Thai Union agrees to clean-up its tuna supply chain
12 July 2017: Tuna company Thai Union agrees to clean-up its tuna supply chain and crack down on human rights and labour abuse violations on its fishing vessels after Greenpeace ran a campaign targeting the company, including a blockade of its Whiskas cat food factory in New Zealand.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council drops the Ruataniwha irrigation dam scheme
13 July 2017: Hawke’s Bay Regional Council drops the Ruataniwha irrigation dam scheme after a high profile campaign against the dam run by environment and conservation groups including Greenpeace. The decision was soon followed by a NZ Supreme Court decision that the Ruataniwha irrigation dam could not be built on conservation land.
NZ Government cuts public funding for large-scale irrigation projects
5 April 2018: Greenpeace celebrates news that the NZ Government has cut public funding for large-scale irrigation projects through Crown Irrigation Investments Limited, which was one of Greenpeace’s key campaign demands.
NZ Government ends new offshore oil and gas exploration
12 April 2018: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s decision to end new offshore oil and gas exploration, calling it an “historic moment, and a huge win for our climate and people power”. It followed an eight year ‘people power’ campaign that brought together Iwi, Greenpeace, environment and conservation groups, and oil-free groups around the country.
NZ Government drops charges against Greenpeace for breaking the Anadarko Amendment
27 April 2018: The NZ Government drops charges against Greenpeace for breaking the Anadarko Amendment in 2017, effectively making the amendment redundant.
NZ Government bans single-use plastic bags
18 August 2018: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s decision to ban single-use plastic bags by 2019 as a win for people power and the oceans. The move followed a campaign by environment groups including Greenpeace.
Japanese Government ends its whaling programme in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary
26 December 2018: Greenpeace welcomes news that the Japanese Government had finally agreed to end its whaling programme in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The move followed a long-running campaign by Greenpeace and others.
Chevron and Equinor abandon their East Coast oil and gas exploration permits
19 June 2019: Chevron and Equinor (formerly Statoil) abandon their oil and gas exploration permits off the east coast of the North Island, leaving Austrian oil company OMV as the last remaining oil giant in New Zealand. The move followed a long-running campaign by Iwi, Greenpeace, and other oil-free groups.
NZ Government to require cameras on commercial fishing vessels operating in some Māui Dolphin habitat
7 June 2019: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s announcement that it would require surveillance cameras on commercial fishing vessels operating within Māui Dolphin habitat, adding that far more needed to be done, including extending the existing marine mammal sanctuary to cover all Māui Dolphin habitat, and within the sanctuary, require a ban on net fishing, seabed mining, and oil exploration and drilling.
NZ Government announces new bottle refund scheme
25 September 2019: Greenpeace heralds the NZ Government’s decision to introduce a bottle refund scheme as a “breakthrough moment for plastic waste in New Zealand” but says there is still much more to be done to end plastic pollution of our oceans.
NZ Government caps synthetic Nitrogen fertiliser use
28 May 2020: Greenpeace celebrates the NZ Government’s move to put a cap on synthetic Nitrogen fertiliser, but says more controls are needed to protect freshwater. The move came after Greenpeace earlier called for a ban on synthetic Nitrogen fertiliser use.
NZ Court of Appeal rules against seabed mining off South Taranaki coast
3 April 2020: Greenpeace joins Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) in hailing the decision by the New Zealand Court of Appeal to deny Trans-Tasman Resources permission to mine the seabed in the South Taranaki Bight as a victory for the oceans.
Austrian oil giant OMV indefinitely postpones its last oil and gas exploration plans in the Taranaki Basin
April 2020: Greenpeace welcomes news that Austrian oil giant OMV is to indefinitely postpone its last remaining oil and gas exploration plans in the Taranaki Basin. Greenpeace said it was “a win of generational significance” that signalled an end to offshore oil exploration in New Zealand. Iwi, Greenpeace and other oil-free groups had targeted OMV over the previous four years, demanding the company to end its offshore oil exploration activities in New Zealand.
NZ Government announces NZ Parliament Buildings will go solar
September 2020: The NZ Government announces that NZ’s Parliament Buildings would install solar panels on the roof in a bid to cut its carbon footprint – albeit 23 years after Greenpeace activists climbed onto the roof of Parliament with solar panels and first proposed it!
NZ High Court rules that Greenpeace is entitled to register as a charity
10 August 2020: The NZ High Court rules that Greenpeace is entitled to register as a charity and that the NZ Charities Registration Board was in error for declining the organisation’s application. The High Court said, “Environmental protection is a charitable purpose and Greenpeace NZ’s advocacy advances the public benefit by gathering necessary support.”
NZ Government declares an impending climate emergency
26 November 2020: Greenpeace celebrates another win for people power after the new NZ Government announced an impending climate emergency declaration, but says the declaration is empty words unless it’s backed by policy that actually reduces New Zealand’s emissions.
NZ Oil & Gas gives up its deep sea oil exploration permit off the South Island
10 March 2021: Greenpeace celebrates the announcement that the NZ Oil & Gas Company will relinquish its deep sea exploration permit off the south coast of the South Island as “another win for the climate, for wildlife, and for people power”.
Progress on fisheries management
17 June 2021: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s move to require all fish caught to be landed but says more must be done. While up to 300 inshore commercial fishing vessels will be fitted with on-board surveillance cameras by 2024 to provide independent monitoring of fish catches and non-target bycatch, Greenpeace said that cameras are needed on the entire NZ commercial fleet to ensure the new rules are followed.
More protection for the Hauraki Gulf
22 June 2021: Greenpeace welcomes the NZ Government’s announcement of new protections in the Hauraki Gulf, including 18 new marine protection areas and restrictions on trawling but says they fall short of the 30% marine protection needed to adequately protect our oceans and the climate.
NZ Government announces a plan to phase out single-use plastic products
27 June 2021: Greenpeace welcomed the Government’s announcement of a plan to phase out more single-use plastics. It is something Greenpeace and others have campaigned over several years for, but have also called for the ban to cover a wider range of products, including single-use plastic drink bottles like Coke, Pepsi and Pump.
The Supreme Court slams the door on seabed mining
30 September 2021 – The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the Trans Tasman Resources appeal of a 2018 High Court ruling which quashed the EPA’s decision in 2017 to give TTR resource consent to begin a giant seabed mining operation in the South Taranaki Bight. The decision effectively renders the project dead in the water. The ruling is a significant win for iwi, hapū, local communities, environmental campaigners and for the ocean.
Cameras on boats
26 May 2022 – After years of campaigning for cameras on boats, we celebrated the news that cameras would be installed on 300 commercial fishing vessels with cautious optimism, celebrating that the tide is finally turning towards ocean protection while continuing to call for cameras on the full commercial fleet.
New Zealand sanctions Russian oligarch Alexander Abramov
Although they stopped short of freezing his assets, the New Zealand Government finally agreed to sanction billionaire oligarch Alexander Abramov.
The New Zealand Government backs calls for a moratorium on deep sea mining
27 October 2022 – In a huge win for people power and for ocean protection, Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced the New Zealand Government’s support for a global moratorium on deep sea mining after months of campaigning by Kiwis Against Seabed Mining, Greenpeace, ECO and many others. This also adds weight to the call for a ban on seabed mining in New Zealand waters, so we’ll keep the pressure on for that as well.
Historic UN Ocean Treaty agreed
A historic UN Ocean Treaty has finally been agreed at the United Nations after almost two decades of negotiations. This Treaty is a monumental win for ocean protection and an important sign that multilateralism still works in an increasingly divided world. Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigned successfully to get the New Zealand Government to support the treaty and in the final days of negotiations, the New Zealand delegation showed determination and flexibility to get the treaty over the line and did Aotearoa proud. Read more about how we made this win happen with people power!