Greenpeace has wrong target for wrong reasons

Greenpeace activists might have had a case if they were protesting about the biosecurity risks from importing palm kernel extract.

But in undertaking an act of piracy and attacking Fonterra they had the wrong target for the wrong reasons.

Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson was right to call it an act of piracy.

“I fully respect the freedom of Greenpeace to protest legally but they have crossed the line by interfering with legal commerce and free navigation on the high seas.

“That’s why the Police need to take this act of piracy, or sea-robbery, very seriously and prosecute those activists to the full extent of the law.  Those activists need to be sent a message that is unequivocal and clear.  They need to be made an example of.

“It’s also economic treason designed to damage New Zealand’s reputation abroad.  Greenpeace is actually anti-farming and these new tactics show how low they are prepared to go. 

Nicolson pointed out PKE is a waste by-product of a waste by-product, derived from producing palm oil we eat or consume daily. 

This point was made by Feds’ biosecurity spokesman John Hartnell in an earlier media release:

“Palm kernel extract is a waste by-product left over from the processing of palm oil for consumer products.  I can’t state that enough, palm kernel is a waste by-product.

“Palm kernel has so little commercial value that if it isn’t recycled into supplementary feed, it is burnt.  That doesn’t sound too great for either climate change or the environment. . .

“Palm plantations aren’t created just to generate a waste by-product, just as newspapers don’t exist solely to support recycling.

Farming is a much easier target than the people who buy potato chips and all the other food which contains palm oil and Nicolson correctly points out:

“Greenpeace knows it cannot win the argument on logic so has resorted to illegal means to express its lies.  It’s a despicable new tactic that has Greenpeace’s loathing of farming written all over that ship. 

Fonterra said the ship wasn’t carrying any feed bound for its stores and that it only uses pke from sustainable sources.

The 14 activists who illegally boarded the ship have been arrested.

16 Responses to Greenpeace has wrong target for wrong reasons

  1. Andrei says:

    Greenpeace grandstanding – I always wonder how these goofs earn their living?

    Their whole life seems to revolve around trying to prevent other people from earning theirs.

    Don’t these cretins have any idea where their sustenance ultimately comes from? People growing food one way or another and it is the remarkable increase in agricultural productivity which makes all the rest possible.

    At the end of the day people gotta eat


  2. murrayg1 says:

    History shows that we are constantly upgrading our social consciences. Women’s right to vote, racial equality, all started outside the ‘law’.
    The reason is obvious and inevitable – the existing regime will always represent the outdated way of thinking.
    The other obvious thing about such processes, is that the the existing regime will always be relegated.
    Classic examples are Emmeline Pankhurst being arrested at race meetings and other venues, Martin Luther King’s sacrifice without which Obama wouldn’t have happened, and Nelson Mandela’s brave sojourn. New Zealand did it’s bit for Mandela – but note it wasn’t through the existing regime, it took brave grandmothers putting their bodies on the protest line.
    The constant argument that ‘it’s just a garden shed’ or ‘it’s just a by-product’, are actually just the self-justification of the old regime in this instance.
    Cadbury’s got it right. They apologised, made suitable alterations, even went a step further by linking up with Fair Trade. I won’t buy my chocolate from anyone else, it’s my way of saluting their integrity.
    Fonterra would do well to have a wee think about that.


  3. Andrei says:

    Murrayg1 you just don’t get it do you?

    Chocolate is a Luxury product. Count your blessings that you can forgo it or not as you choose. Impact on the planet of your choice – NIL.

    The thing is the people who work on the palm oil plantations do not get to eat chocolate very often, if ever, compared to your self indulgent, spoilt lifestyle theirs is very thin indeed.

    My God mate do you not realize that people starve to death every day and that threat famine is a real possibility for millions. It is modern agriculture that insulates us from this threat along with the ability to ship goods around the planet.

    My mother survived a famine in her childhood that took maybe 10,000,000 lives, mister, and it has colored her whole life – mine too perhaps by proxy.

    Feel good about pushing chocolate manufacurerers around


  4. Red Rosa says:

    Well said Murrayg1.

    Farmers rarely show any social conscience on issues such as those you quote. But purely on commercial grounds, they should tone down their rhetoric in the PKE case. ‘Piracy’ does seem to be stretching it a bit. And aiding and abetting rainforest destruction in Indonesia hardly helps the clean green image.

    They should also take a careful look at the damage caused to the Australian merino wool trade by Oz farmers sticking with mulesing, come hell or high water.

    Fonterra and its farmers have suffered enough PR damage from the San Lu debacle for one season, and they should tread lightly on this one. NZ farming practices will always be subject to US and EU scrutiny in trade negotiations, and their press minions are apt to seize on items like these.


  5. murrayg1 says:

    You defend a temporary regime. Yes, you and I have choices, due to luck of place and time of birth.
    Palm products though, if they remove rainforest, are also luxury products.
    We, you and I, both live above a sustainable level – best estimates are that the planet can long-term support 2 billion at subsistence level, and less (perhaps 1 billion) at our level. We’re in overshoot.
    We are doing what we currently do by extracting and using a long-stored supply of natural capital – particularly energy – in a short timeframe. That process has peaked.
    Modern agriculture is intrinsically based on oil, and mass dieoff is inevitable – that process will make the Depression look like a Sunday-School picnic.
    Aqufer depletion, soil degradation, erosion, desertification and competing land-uses will exascerbate the problem (See Gwynne Dyer’s exellent op/ed about Ethiopia In the ODT).
    Against that backdrop, I acknowledge that I can do without chocolate, fully anticipate adapting to seasonal local food, and have no faith in the continuance of our current food-distribution system.
    The fact is indeed that our lifestyles are spoilt, and that others are starving, but that is actually an insurmountable problem. There are not the resources left to raise the existing numbers out of poverty, wait till their birth-rates drop, and truck on.
    I’ve gone further down the self-restraint track than almost anyone in NZ, we make our own power, planted our own carbon-sink forest long before the idea became mainstream, live out of our garden…. you must drop in for a hot chocolate sometime.


  6. gravedodger says:

    Well Ele you have exposed a scab that the apologists for law breaking and stupid protest are really going to keep picking.
    If these people who have no regard for the law wish to protest the clearing of rain forest then by all means do it but where it is occurring, not here where well intentioned livestock owners are recycling a waste product that could otherwise be burnt. Are we not being constantly reminded of the pollution burning carbon based products causes.
    I would only hope if that protest is done where the forest clearing is being done then a suitable TV coverage is arranged so we can see how effective and well received it is.
    As To Red Rosa’s attempt to threadjack this discussion on PKE I will, with apologies to HP, only say how much experience has RR had dealing with the ravages of maggots eating a sheep alive because the physical anatomy of sheep makes control of this scourge very difficult. This is a problem that is magnified in the Merino with its wrinkles and tight wool, and more so without the modified mulesing operation.


  7. murrayg1 says:

    I suppose we could have all protested the Springboks by going to Pretoria, or protested the Longbeach by going to San Diego. Seems to me both messages are now mainstream, and were gotten so locally.
    You have a bit of a dilemma though – given that we ripped our forests out first, we should be paying them to keep theirs, at a commensurate rate to the income you get off you already-cleared land. That is irrespective of climate change – it’s because we all need the carbon cycle. That would be the going rate.

    How much was that again?


  8. […] You want common sense from the enviromental movement? Several commentators have pointed out the stupidity of the protest action […]


  9. Sus says:

    You’re right, Murray. I give up.

    The world is ending and we’re all doomed.

    Henceforth, there’ll be no more progress and innovation unless it’s state-sanctioned; central planners being renowned for their amazing powers of genius. Happy now?

    Oh, wait a second .. the old Eastern Bloc couldn’t even feed itself properly. And the continent of Africa, that bastion of tyranny run by a collection of brutal despots, is permanently in a state of starvation, deprivation and misery.

    Well, all except the central planners, of course.

    My God, you and your fellow travellers are misguided if you genuinely believe that governments solve problems. But then you guys generally have a low opinion of people and their capacity to arrive at peaceful solutions on their own.


  10. banphai says:

    Sus, it’s very hard to see how your comments relate in any rational way to the posts by MurrayG. He can answer for himself, but I am struggling to understand why you think his position could be that Armageddon is inevitable or that some form of totalitarian central planning is required. Exactly where does he say this?


  11. gravedodger says:

    MurrayG1 if your comment about SA and Pretoria was in response to me, thankyou but I still suggest that attacking the importer of PKE for trying to recycle a byproduct from palm oil rather than leaving it to be burnt when a better protest would IMHO be better aimed at the forest clearers or the users of the palm oil, That however would be a lot more dangerous.
    Yes I did farm land that was cleared, not forest but scrub and tussock and although not responsible for the clearing, I know I left it with more trees (conservation productive and aesthetic) than when I acquired it in every case (three individual properties). On my current property I am reestablishing Native NZ tussock perhaps a subconscious retribution effort.
    I accept that clearance of one vegetation for another can be made out as destruction but what sort of economy would we have without what I see as progress. I did not support Cadbury’s ill advised flirtation with palm oil as I am firmly in the Whittakers camp and I see serious problems with rain forest destruction but I will never condone serious law breaking such as has become a stock standard greenpeace tactic.


  12. murrayg1 says:

    Gravedoger- Well said. The hot chocolate is offered in your direction too, although there are other beverages on offer……….

    Sus – if global population is not gotten down voluntarily, it will happen involuntarily, and that will indeed look like an Armaggedon to those who succumb.
    The way I see it, you can set an example, and you can help get people informed. To push for further ‘growth’ is as irresponsible for a government as it is for an imdividual.
    Have a look at the Hubbert Curve (google images). That bell-curve happened. Then google: ‘Campbell 2004 scenario’. Note the green wedge at the bottom – thats that 1956 Hubbert prediction, in global context. Have a good look at the right hand side of both graphs…. Imagine that much less energy driving the world’s trucks and tractors.
    The problem with market forces is that they are reactive, which in this case (given lead times and lack of altenatives)is too little, too late.
    We simply have to be proactive – it has to be via government – it’s the system we have and we don’t have time to change that, either.
    Is there a way forward – of course. Come and see my house. 1.5 amps at 12 volts. full noise. We could get by on one Benmore penstock if all were like me.
    See my Opinion piece today in the ODT for more…
    I’m not sure what your political allusions were about – McCarthy died of cirrhosis of the liver the year after I was born, so maybe we live in different eras.


  13. Ed Snack says:

    The other point worth emphasizing is that the environmentalists, especially Greenpeace, are the ones responsible for the boom in Palm Oil production for bio-fuels in the first place. It was quite specifically at the urging of such people that the search for significant supplies of bio-diesel fuels expanded so much that cutting down forests for palm oil plantations became economic. Murrayg1, you with your religious beliefs are responsible, your protests are an acrid joke on you and yours. Please crawl back into your noisome little shell and contemplate the law of unintended consequences.


  14. banphai says:

    Hostorically Greanpeace, Friends of the Earth and prominent conservationists have opposed the non-sustainable and environmentally damaging production of biofuels from palm oil. For example, see:

    Click to access palm_oil_biofuel_position.pdf
    Biofuel production from palm oil took off when the rising costs of crude oil made such an industry seem financially profitable. It was a commercially led decision, not an environmental one.


  15. murrayg1 says:

    I don’t do personal slander, sorry you’re on your own.
    Actually, it was George Bush who pushed for, and subsidised, corn to ethanol.
    Read my ODT Opinion piece yesterday(you can get it online: ODT Online opinion)
    Having read it, you will note that I am not, and never have been, a champion of biofuels. They simply displace other land-use, and their EROEI is questionable. I do like Algae but you have to understand that it,like anything, needs feedstock, and the volumes simply aren’t there.
    Biofuels are a desperate attempt to continue Business as Usual, and were never going to cut the mustard.
    I’m also a long-time atheist, one who can count. Your religious accusation is perhaps better pointed at the finance minister, who by his example seems to think the world can treble it’s population.
    I categorise folk into two camps – discerners of truth, and deniers of truth. Don’t hold much truck with left, right, green, red or blue.
    I presume by the fact that you appear to have had a pre-held prejudice about me – and were wrong – that you belong in the ‘denier’ camp?


  16. kay says:

    Palm Kernel Extract (PKE) is just a waste by-product, not one millimetre of land is cleared for planting it! Besides, Fonterra obtains its palm oil from a sustainable source.

    Here’s the article:

    The major contributor to Greenhouse gas (GHG) are fossil fuels. Why don’t Greenpeace ask Shell/Mobil/BP to stop oil production?

    Corn yields only 172 litres of oil/hectare, Soybeans- 446 litres of oil/hectare, while Palm oil produces 5950 litres of oil/hectare. I don’t see Greenpeace protesting agaisn’t Corn or soy?

    One of the UN Millenium Goal’s to “Eradicate poverty and hunger” – the oil palm industry is feeding many people in Indonesia and Malaysia… and since fossil fuel is more damaging to our environment and running out, Biofuel is the next thing. So what are these Greenies protesting about??

    Greenpeace ought to get their facts right before engaging in such stunts, and we should question their intentions for this protest


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