This article by me was in today’s Dominion Post:
On Sunday April 29th, two activists from Save Happy Valley Christchurch locked-on to the Main South Line, blocking a coal train. This delayed the delivery of climate-polluting coal from state-owned Solid Energy’s Stockton mine from reaching the Port of Lyttelton . The activists were connected via a welded steel pipe buried in concrete laid under the train tracks, and were removed and arrested after several hours.
The protest was the latest in over three years of activity against the proposed destruction of Happy Valley. Solid Energy plans to turn the ecologically significant sub-alpine wetland ecosystem, approximately 25km north-east of Westport on the West Coast of the South Island, into an open-cast coal mine. Other actions include the fifteen month long occupation of Happy Valley itself by activists and supporters from across New Zealand and the world, banner drops on Wellington motorways and the waterfront, and actions at the state owned enterprise’s Christchurch HQ.
Climate change is increasingly recognised as one of the major issues facing the planet today, yet the Labour Government refuses to take any meaningful action on the matter. They applaud themselves for their plans to increase the efficiency of the ministerial fleet while at the same time coal mined by their own company is responsible for adding as much CO2 to the atmosphere as the entire vehicle fleet (all trucks, buses and cars) on New Zealand’s roads each year.
Until Solid Energy ends their plans to mine Happy Valley, and New Zealand begins a serious, socially just and environmentally sustainable move away from coal, the Save Happy Valley campaign will continue across New Zealand. For more information, see www.savehappyvalley.org.nz