Coal sponsorship, worse than tobacco

29 Sep

Auckland Coal Action ‘attended’ the final show in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s Solid Energy Tour. We held banners at the doors and handed out leaflets to concert-goers with the message that we should no longer accept coal sponsorship.

We support the orchestra, but not its sponsor – so this protest was a friendly one. We’ve outlined our position in an open letter to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Coal, worse than tobacco
We no longer accept tobacco sponsorship of cultural and sporting events, so why should we accept sponsorship from coal companies such as Solid Energy?

Action on climate change is more urgent than ever. There are huge quantities of coal left – enough to raise the temperature of the earth by 15 degrees. To save the planet from runaway climate change, leading scientists advise that we must phase out coal to zero by 2030.

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

Solid Energy – dirty energy, dirty employer
Solid Energy uses sponsorship to try and create a good public image despite the fact that 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. Kristin Gillies makes this point well in his recent Opinion Editorial in the Greymouth Star and Southland Times.

Isn’t any funding of the arts a good thing?
Not when the harm caused by the sponsor to the climate, local environment and its own workers outweighs any benefits by such a large margin.

When sponsorship from tobacco companies was banned, people were concerned that funding for community organizations would dry up. But it didn’t happen – others filled the gap. We call on the government to fully fund the NZSO and are prepared to pay the taxes to support this.

Add your voice to ours!
We invite you to join us in alerting the government to our dissatisfaction that such an important institution has been reduced to accepting sponsorship from a coal mining company by a lack of state support.

If you agree, please email or phone our Minister for Culture and Heritage, and let him know how you feel.
Hon Christopher Finlayson
(04) 817 6808

To contact the NZSO, email:

2 Responses to “Coal sponsorship, worse than tobacco”


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

    […] had a presence outside the concert and handed out leaflets to concert-goers – as reported and shown here. We love the NZSO and want to see it properly supported by the Government – not forced to rely […]

  2. Letters to the editor in response to NZSO protest « auckland coal action - 18/10/2012

    […] of the patrons of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra took exception to our presence at the final concert in the ‘Solid Energy Tour’. He was annoyed enough to write to the editor of the New Zealand Herald. NZ Herald, 1 October […]

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