Charges likely over irresponsible protest

The combined reports below were published today by news agency New Zealand Press Association and newspapers NZ Herald and The National Business Review.

AUCKLAND - Police are likely to lay charges against 20 Greenpeace protesters after Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd's employees were forced to evacuate their headquarters in New Zealand over a bomb scare, this morning.   

Greenpeace's McDiarmid receives a trespass notice
The 8.15am evacuation of more than 100 employees was caused by Greenpeace's protest against Fonterra's purchase of palm kernel animal feeds, sourced from oil palm trees, which they claim were grown at the expense of rainforests.

Inspector Lou Alofa of the police northern communications centre said Fonterra's building on Princes St was evacuated after a suspicious package was left unattended and chained to an elevator handrail inside the building.

"We have dealt with the package and can confirm it was not an improvised explosive device," Mr Alofa said. "We discovered it was actually two speakers playing a voice recording and the sound of chainsaws."

Greenpeace New Zealand executive director Bunny McDiarmid said, "We take protests seriously and all our volunteer activists are highly-trained, calm and respectful of police and emergency services. The right to peaceful protest is the foundation of a democratic society."

Another Greenpeace activist, Simon Boxer, insisted the protest had only barricaded one entrance and staff were able to pass through five other entrances to the building unhindered. "Our members peacefully handed out leaflets explaining what we were doing," he said, adding the television screens were broadcasting footage from a Greenpeace trip last week to Indonesia, looking at the deforestation of native forests.

Greenpeace claims that Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, imports one quarter of the world's palm kernel. As a result, rainforest in Indonesia is being cleared at a rate of 2 per cent per year in order for the oil palm trees to be grown. "We hope the message has gone in there and that Fonterra will take corporate responsibility for the deforestation that is happening in Indonesia at this very minute."

This protest comes four months after Greenpeace protestors chained themselves together to block the fuel depot at Fonterra’s Clandeboye factory in Canterbury which uses coal.

Police who attended the incident today are concerned. They deemed the protesters' behaviour irresponsible because it unnecessarily consumed a lot of emergency services resources. Acting Auckland City area manager Inspector Mike McIlraith said charges were likely to be laid and investigations were continuing.

By 9.30am, Fonterra's staff had returned to the 9-storey building.

Greenpeace called on Fonterra and the Government to end New Zealand's importation of palm kernel grown on areas of destroyed rainforest which it said was driving climate change and putting at risk of extinction several wildlife species, including primates called orangutan.

"As the palm industry opens up new frontiers across Indonesia, companies like Fonterra, which is expected to spend NZ$230 million this year buying up a quarter of the world's traded palm kernel, is helping to fuel this destruction," Greenpeace New Zealand communications manager Suzette Jackson said.

2 Responses to Charges likely over irresponsible protest

  1. Palm kernel is good for dairy cows.

    It is a natural high quality stock feed containing 8-11% oil, 16-18% crude protein and 10.5-12.5MJME/kgDM (energy) - and a safe stock feed for most classes of livestock.

    It is a non-GMO, safe and non-acid producing foodstuff (due to low levels of starch and sugar).

    It is an excellent source of oil and rumen fermentable fibre which can improve milk fat content. Palm kernel is a good source of minerals, namely phosphorous, copper, zinc and manganese.

    Although high in Acid Detergent Fibre (ADF) and Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF), it is not a substitute for grass intake, i.e. palm kernel should be used to help increase total DM intake.

  2. These western environmental non-governmental organisations (WENGOs) are behaving like terrorists!!

    Mind you...this is not the first time they attacked Fonterra.

    A year ago, 14 Greenpeace activists tied themselves to parts of the Hong Kong-registered vessel East Ambition docking at Port of Tauranga. They staged a drama-fuelled protest against Fonterra's importation of palm kernel from Malaysia and Indonesia for stock feed. The police, later, removed the protesters and charged them NZ$2,000 for illegally boarding a vessel.

    Fonterra later confirmed the vessel did not carry any of its feed and described Greenpeace's protest as a dangerous publicity stunt that potentially damage New Zealand's reputation as a law abiding nation.

    Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns recalled a similar protest at Tauranga where the activists became violent and a port staff member had to risk his own life to rescue them. Similarly, Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson felt that while these activists have a right to demonstrate, their attention-seeking stunts endangered innocent lives, interfered with legal commerce and free navigation on the high seas.

    There you go....the stupid, selfish and reckless WENGO strikes again!!

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