Wellington Scoop

Tour of “coalest capital” points to four climate criminals


News from Extinction Rebellion
The climate and ecological crisis movement Extinction Rebellion says yesterday’s Wellington exposure of the coal industry’s biggest players is designed to highlight the enormous damage the quartet is doing to the environment.

“The mining and burning of coal is the single greatest threat to the world’s climate,” says event spokesperson Tim Jones. “Bathurst Resources mined more than two million tonnes of coal in 2017. That’s more than the size of 30 Te Papa museums.

“In 2017, the emissions of Fonterra alone were the approximate equivalent of the emissions of 185,000 cars.

“In the midst of a climate emergency, the mining sector lobbyist Straterra spins coal as a valid fuel choice and supports the issue of more permits for coal mining.

“And the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment – supposedly the regulators of the coal industry, but actually its promoters – was responsible for drawing up the country’s new Resources Strategy which makes zero mention of the necessary phase-out of fossil fuels.

“All four entities hide in plain sight in the capital and deserved to be exposed.

”Each of their glass doors were spray chalked with a giant Extinction Symbol and the words “Climate Criminal”.

“A security guard positioned outside the Straterra office on the Terrace called the police, who were nonplussed by the chalking and wished the rebels well. “You guys carry on and have fun,” said the officer, after ascertaining that no spray paint was used.”


As members of XR toured the city, exposing who they regard as climate criminals, a giant canary accompanied them, referencing the ‘canary in the coal mine’, the behaviour of which is monitored to assess the health of air in a mine.

“The canary started out happy and chirpy” says Mr Jones. “But as the tour progressed, it became more and more ill, choking on coal dust. And sadly, before the tour ended, it expired: a bit of street theatre which serves as
a warning to all New Zealanders about the quality of our atmosphere deteriorating in the hands of these four climate criminals that are embedded in the capital.”


  1. Jerzy Kaltenberg, 23. September 2019, 23:10

    “You guys carry on and have fun,” said the officer, after ascertaining that no spray paint was used.”
    Is there a better commentary on the extinction rebellion? Children of privilege playing at street politics, rebelling against common-and-fashion sense will not change anything except their own opinions, when a sexier cause appears ..

  2. Donald T., 24. September 2019, 7:26

    I wonder if they would have supported Margaret Thatcher who ended subsidies to coal mines and got vilified by similar looking youth of yesterday?

  3. GillyT, 24. September 2019, 9:23

    @ Donald T. As long as you don’t include the steel and the shipbuilding industries that Thatcher also took a hammer to, you ‘could’ argue that Thatcher was an early advocate for climate change. Lol.

    But let’s be real. She ended subsidies to coal mines (and the aforementioned industries) because she wanted to break the unions, drive down wages and free up the flow of finance that was supposed to ‘trickle down’ to the people who lost their jobs. The law of unintended consequences instead delivered casino capitalism, with its “greed is good” mantra and destabilising knock-on effects.

    If young people can turn that ship around, good on them.

  4. CC, 24. September 2019, 12:11

    Jerzy – What are you doing to save the planet for future generations? Let us know if it is more effective than what Extinction Rebellion is doing.
    Donald – Margaret Thatcher’s motives were not to save the planet and loss of subsidies weren’t the reason for protests.

  5. Dave B, 24. September 2019, 13:03

    @ Donald T. That was yesterday. About 35 years ago. Times change. Different set of youth now. Different set of problems.

  6. Derek G., 24. September 2019, 14:09

    Really Dave B – so you would have protested to keep mines open 35 years ago? I suppose coal is good because it is transported by rail from one side of the south island to the other before its exported. A bit like Wellington where log exports are the mainstay of the port and rail freight. Would you protest against log exports?

  7. Dave B, 24. September 2019, 20:33

    Hi Derek G. Sorry, but I don’t understand how you manage to infer what I would have protested about 35 years ago from what I just wrote here. The mental gymnastics are beyond me.
    But since you mention it, yes, West Coast Coal is “good”, in that its prime use is for steel-making not simply burning for energy – unlike much of British coal.

  8. Chris Horne, 25. September 2019, 9:08

    Does the State Services Commission have the power to order the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to comply with Parliament’s ratification of the 2015 Paris Accord?

    The Accord requires New Zealand to slash its emissions of gases which contribute to climate change. If so, the Commission should take swift action, now, not tomorrow. If the State Services Commission does not have that power, Parliament should step in immediately and enforce its ratification of the Paris Accord immediately on all industrial users of coal and their supporters, including Straterra, Fonterra and Bathurst Resources and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

  9. Derek G., 25. September 2019, 10:45

    And what about the logs Dave B – are you for or anit forestry exports as well?