Greenpeace activists convicted over Parliament climate action protest

Press release - October 1, 2015
Auckland, Thursday 1 October - The four Greenpeace activists who climbed the roof of Parliament to expose John Key’s failure on climate change have been convicted of wilful trespass with an order for reparations of $750 per activist in the Auckland District Court.

“We remain proud of what we did and we are happy to take full responsibility for our actions,” said Johno Smith, one of the activists.
Climbers Mr Smith, Jeff Harrison, Abi Smith and Verena Maeder scaled Parliament at dawn on June 25 with a delivery of six working solar panels. They also unfurled a large banner targeting the Prime Minister.
“Cut pollution, create jobs? Yeah, nah” read the banner text, which sat alongside a smiling headshot of John Key.
The group stayed on the roof for the day, connecting with people around the world using social media applications such as live-stream app, Periscope. Their phones and computer were charged by the solar panels they had up there.
“The New Zealand Government is failing New Zealanders over the biggest issue of our time,” said Mr Smith.
“We are willing to take legal risks because we believe New Zealand can and should be at the forefront of global efforts to tackle climate change. There is as much opportunity as there is challenge in making the transition to a smarter, cleaner economy.”
New Zealand is proving one of the biggest blocks to a meaningful global deal at the Paris climate talks in December.
As well as having one of the weakest climate action plans and one of the poorest emission reduction records of the developed nations who’ll be at the summit (1), the New Zealand delegation wants countries’ emission targets to be non-binding under any agreement, meaning governments could walk away from their targets at any time.
International analysis has found New Zealand’s pledge to reduce emissions by 11% by 2030 on 1990 levels to be “inadequate”. (2)
“John Key’s record on climate change is an embarrassment, and our country is being held back by a “can’t do” attitude that is a betrayal of the true values and spirit of New Zealanders," said Mr Smith.
Greenpeace has called on John Key to pull the delegation from the Paris talks, saying a strong climate deal could rest on New Zealand absenting itself completely. (3)

For media enquiries, please call:

Nathan Argent, press office on: 021 971 234
Simon Boxer, climate and energy campaigner on: 021 905 579