Fonterra will be greeted by drums, cow costumes, placards and a pile of coal on Thursday morning, 9 July, as Extinction Rebellion Ōtautahi ask the question, ‘Why are Fonterra still using coal in a climate emergency?’
The group will be gathering to deliver a letter to Fonterra and create a visual spectacle outside their offices on 525/227 Halswell Junction Road. The demonstration follows Bathurst’s application to expand the Canterbury coal mine, with most of its coal going to Fonterra’s factory to dehydrate milk.
“The proposed expansion of the Canterbury coal mine has everything to do with Fonterra’s addiction to coal. They are burning coal to dry out milk. Why are we seeing these irresponsible decisions in the middle of a climate crisis?” Says XR Ōtautahi spokesperson Selina Clare.
“Fonterra seem determined to use coal til the cows come home.” Says Coal Action Network Aotearoa spokesperson Cindy Baxter. CANA have conducted extensive research into the relationship between dairy giant Fonterra and Bathurst’s coal companies.
While Fonterra made a public commitment to move away from coal, the proposed expansion of the Canterbury coal mine suggests this will not happen any time soon.
“The application to expand the Canterbury coal mine involves both future and retrospective consents. Bathurst have been mining more coal than they have consent to mine. As their primary customer, Fonterra need to be held responsible for the effect coal is having on the climate. Fonterra’s coal use is driving the expansion of coal mines.” Says Michael Apathy, who will attend the protest on Thursday.
While over 600 submissions were made on the mine’s expansion, the group believes Fonterra need to be made accountable to the public. They plan to deliver their message to Fonterra in person, and make a big noise doing it, sending the message “coal and milk don’t mix”. Selina Clare says the group expect a large turnout at the event despite the rainy forecast.
“People need to know about the mutually supportive relationship between Fonterra and Bathurst. While Fonterra are buying so much coal locally, Bathurst can afford to push ahead with bigger mining projects on the West Coast that would see the Denniston and Buller Plateau’s destroyed. We’re in an ecological crisis and we need better decisions from companies, councils and the government.”