Interview with Frances Mountier on Solid Energy’s legal action

July 27, 2007

A video interview with Frances Mountier, an activist in the Save Happy Valley Coalition (SHVC), who was in court Wednesday after she was sued over her role in the production and distribution of a report into Solid Energy’s environmental destruction in 2006.

High quality version available here, thanks to EngageMedia.

Low quality version embedded below, or if you can’t see it, it’s available on YouTube by clicking here.

And a feature I wrote for Aotearoa Indymedia about this:

Frances Mountier, an activist in the Save Happy Valley Coalition (SHVC), was in court Wednesday after she was sued over her role in the production and distribution of a report into Solid Energy’s environmental destruction in 2006.

The legal action taken by Solid Energy had changed considerably from when it was first launched. Proceedings against Powelliphanta Augustus Inc, who Solid Energy were trying to claim were representatives of the Save Happy Valley Coalition, were dropped prior to the hearing and Solid Energy reached an out-of-court settlement with a third defendant, Simon Oosterman, who runs Enzyme, which hosts the SHVC website. Solid Energy also dropped the original major causes of action – defamation & injurious falsehood – in favour of simply pursuing Frances Mountier for use of their trademarked logo.

This morning in the Christchurch High Court, the Judge ruled that the report could continue to be published, but the Solid Energy logo must be removed from the front page.

“The complete rehashing of this case to one of the use of logo on the front page by myself, when it started as full defamation proceedings against three defendants, simply shows how mistaken and outrageous those attempts to injunct publication of the report were. The whole case has highlighted how anxious this state owned coal miner is to avoid public criticism and debate on their activities” said Frances Mountier, “While defending this case has cost thousands of dollars of funds donated by supporters, we have been successful – the Environment Report can continue to be published in a substantially unaltered form.”

Links: Save Happy Valley Coalition | SHVC Press Release

Video – Stop the weapons conference

July 25, 2007

In October 2005, the New Zealand Defence Industry Association held a conference at Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand. The NZDIA conference was an opportunity for weapons manufacturers to promote and sell their killing machines to the New Zealand army and other militaries. The Aotearoa Revolutionary Clown Army and friends joined together to blockade the conference.

And now, almost two years later, I finally got all the video footage from that day, and so I’ve made a movie about it. It’s the first bit of editing I’ve done, so hopefully it’s not too bad ;)

Low quality version below from YouTube. If you can’t see the embedded film, click here to view. If you’re on broadband, you can download a high quality version (131MB) from EngageMedia by clicking here. The high quality version is obviously much better – you can even read the subtitles ;)

800 Hospital cleaners locked out after strike action

July 12, 2007

A feature I just wrote for Aotearoa Indymedia:

Around 800 workers contracted to Spotless Services Ltd have been locked out of their kitchen, orderly and cleaning jobs at 13 public hospitals across the country on Thursday July 12th after they attempted to start industrial action, striking for 55 minutes of every hour, 24 hours a day in their struggle for better wages and conditions.

The workers are members of the Service & Food Workers Union (SFWU) and have all been served with 14 day lockout notices. The SFWU took Spotless Services Ltd to the Employment Court, after Spotlight claimed the strike action would pose a health and safety hazard at the hospitals, but the Court agreed with Spotlight and said the lockout notices were justified. The lockout is the largest ever of public hospital workers.

SFWU spokesman Alastair Duncan said striking workers planned to present themselves for work and take industrial action as planned, but if they were physically prevented from working they would comply.

Pickets at the Hospitals will continue, and workers and their supporters will also picket outside the headquarters of Spotless Services in Auckland on Friday 13th July at 12 midday, 600 Great South Road, Penrose.

Automatic $10 donations to the lockout fund can be made by calling 0900 LOCKOUT (0900 56256)

Links: Service & Food Workers Union
Video: Picket at Waitakere Hospital | Picket at Middlemore Hospital


Save Happy Valley Coalition support striking miners

July 2, 2007

Further to my post the other day:

Save Happy Valley Coalition support striking miners
Monday 2 July 2007
Press Release: Save Happy Valley Coalition

The Save Happy Valley Coalition is expressing its solidarity with over 800 miners currently engaged in industrial action after negotiations for their MECA (multi-employer contract agreement) have thus far failed to achieve their demands of a 5 – 5.5% pay rise.

“These miners have a difficult job, and the refusal of a decent pay increase by Solid Energy and mining contractors is nothing short of a disgrace” stated Frances Mountier, Save Happy Valley Coalition spokesperson. “Solid Energy are even refusing to negotiate alongside the contractors, in what appears to be an attempt to thwart the collective agreement.”

“The childish behaviour of Solid Energy in refusing to transport workers to the Spring Creek mine during hazardous weather conditions shows that their main interest is in maximising profit rather than creating safe working conditions. When CEO Don Elder earns over $670,000 a year, there is no excuse to deny the workers the pay rise they deserve”

“We extend our full solidarity and support to the miners in their struggle for decent pay and working conditions.”



July 2, 2007

At the moment, it seems like online is my only connection to the world outside my front door. I’ve only left the house once in the last week (maybe longer? I lost track…) and that was only to the petrol station across the road to get out some cash (to order in comfort food…mmm, vegan pizza). Even then I had to drag one of my flatmates with me because I didn’t feel up to going outside on my own.

I’ve skipped at least two meetings, the most recent of which was yesterday, because I don’t feel up to seeing other humans right now. I’ve even been avoiding the two people I live with (both of whom read this blog, hi!) for the most part…

Tomorrow night I’ve got a meeting that I really want to go to, for a new collective I’ve just joined. I especially want to go because I haven’t actually been able to attend a meeting of that collective yet, in the few weeks since I told them I wanted to join. Hopefully I’ll feel up to going – I think I’ll probably try to force myself even if I don’t – but the thought of being around a group of people brings up feelings I don’t know how to label – fear, anxiety, nervousness….

These feelings have happened before, they seem to come during especially bad patches of my depression (although not always).  Not really sure what to do about them. Part of me has an inkling that forcing myself to have as much human contact as possible would be healthy right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy…

A really bad idea…

July 2, 2007

Imagine this scenario: For the past 3 nights, you haven’t slept – of course, you’ve slept a few hours during the middle of the day, so you’re still somewhat functioning, but the sleep has been constantly broken and shitty even when it has existed. The fourth night, you decide you are going to try to sleep no matter how you feel, no matter how fast your mind is working, no matter what. At around 3:30am, you finally feel like there’s a small chance you can squeeze out some sleep, so you go to bed. You decide that old favourite method, reading yourself to sleep, and pick out the thing on your bookshelf that its been longest since you’ve read. You glance at it, think to yourself “thats not the best bedtime reading” but nothing else seems interesting, so you go to bed and start reading. The reading material you picked? Support, a (fucking excellent) zine about sexual assault and supporting survivors.

And that, my friends, was a really bad idea. Anyway, to cut a long story short, you read the whole zine, then turn out the lights. Your mind runs faster than ever, and eventually, you get out of bed, because there’s no way in hell you’ll be getting to sleep tonight. You go online, and post your experience on your blog, for some inexplicable reason in the third person. The end…


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