Orchestra urged to drop Solid Energy as sponsor

28 Sep

Media Release – Auckland Coal Action

Friday 28 September 2012

Auckland Coal Action has sent an open letter to the NZ Symphony Orchestra, opposing sponsorship of the orchestra by state coal miner, Solid Energy.

The letter says, “We love the NZSO, but coal is dirtying your good name” and suggests that accepting sponsorship from a coal mining company is akin to accepting it from a tobacco company.  (Tobacco sponsorship was banned by the Government in 1985 due to the harm it caused the community).

“We no longer accept tobacco sponsorship of cultural and sporting events, so why should we accept sponsorship from coal companies such as Solid Energy?” says ACA spokesman, Tony Dunlop.

Open letter to NZSO from Auckland Coal Action

Auckland Coal Action will protest outside the NZSO’s concert at the Town Hall on Friday evening, and hand out leaflets to concert-goers as they enter the Town Hall.

“We support the orchestra, but not its sponsor – so this protest will be a friendly one. We’ve outlined our position in the open letter to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, “says Mr Dunlop.

In the open letter, ACA says action on climate change is more urgent than ever with huge quantities of coal left, that if burned could raise the temperature of the earth by as much as 15 degrees.

“To save the planet from runaway climate change, leading scientists advise that we must phase out coal to zero by 2030,” says Mr Dunlop for Auckland Coal Action.

“Instead, Solid Energy has plans to massively increase its coal extraction, so it’s fair to say that coal is today’s tobacco industry – the evidence of its harm is simply too great to ignore.”

Solid Energy uses arts sponsorship to try and create a good public image, although its’ business is based on extracting coal – the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, and the biggest contributor to climate change.

The company’s recent actions in slashing its workforce show they have as little regard for their workers as they do for the climate.

When the harm caused by the sponsor – to the climate, local environment and its own workers outweighs any benefits by such a large margin – then it’s time to act, he says.

“When sponsorship from tobacco companies was banned, people were concerned that funding for community organizations would dry up,” says Mr Dunlop. “But this didn’t happen – others filled the gap. We call on the government to fully fund the NZSO.”

We want to alert the government to our dissatisfaction that such an important institution as the NZSO has been reduced to accepting sponsorship from a coal mining company, due to a lack of state support.

Auckland Coal Action recognises that coal is the most damaging of fossil fuels and that its on-going use is causing catastrophic climate change.

We aim to achieve a coal-free Aotearoa before 2030, initially by opposing the expansion of coal mining. We do this work to play our part in sustaining a livable climate for us, our children and grandchildren, and those that follow them.


2 Responses to “Orchestra urged to drop Solid Energy as sponsor”


  1. September Newsletter | Coal Action Network Aotearoa - 01/10/2012

    […] Coal Action has chosen this concert to highlight the issue of coal sponsorship, andmake the comparison with tobacco […]

  2. Forbidden love and a forbidden elephant « auckland coal action - 19/10/2012

    […] let orchestra patrons know what kind of company was sponsoring the event, giving them copies of our open letter to the NZSO urging the orchestra to ditch Solid […]

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