Fonterra ‘tasting’ serves a side of coal to passers-by

5 Mar

“Would you like to taste some of Fonterra’s fine products? Here you are – it comes with coal!”

Orientation Week seemed a good time to stage a bit of street theatre outside Fonterra’s HQ just down hill from Auckland University. Four waitresses in frilly white aprons and caps offered passers-by (mainly students) samples of Fonterra milk and cheese – then popped a piece of coal on top.


Do you realise your cheese comes with coal?

It was a great conversation starter about the proposed new coal mine at Mangatawhiri and how Fonterra could use wood chip in its dairy factories instead of coal. Most people agreed, and most were horrified, having no idea that Fonterra was such a major coal burner.

Police and media presence

Police were out in force, obviously called by Fonterra who found a few milkmaids really scary. The cops looked a bit embarrassed about being there at all.2013-03-05 16.10.33

Also, interested in the action were a number of media outlets. Waikato Times did a preview, Radio BFM did an interview, a rural TV programme turned up and the NZ Herald’s Elements environmental supplement ran a piece too.

Why target Fonterra now?

Glencoal, wholly owned by Fonterra, has applied for consents for an open cast mine on farmland at Mangatawhiri on SH2. It’s not an easy place for them as it would be highly visible to anyone driving from Auckland to Tauranga or the Coromandel. Planned to produce 120,000 tonnes a year, it would take over from the Kopako 3 mine which currently supplies the dairy factories at Waitoa, Hautapu and Te Awamutu. With the Kopako coal running out in 2014, it’s a good time to start the phase out of coal in favour of waste wood which is locally available.

Local opinion

Local farmers and residents are not overly happy about living next to an open cast mine and a public meeting has been organised jointly by local people and Auckland Coal Action for 7 March. Locals will hear Jim Salinger speak on the expected impacts of climate change on farming in that area, as well as speakers on the health effects of coal mining and how to make a submission under the RMA on the consent hearing.

Watch this space for more.

One Response to “Fonterra ‘tasting’ serves a side of coal to passers-by”


  1. Newsletter Feb/March 2013 | Coal Action Network Aotearoa - 06/03/2013

    […] Full download of the action, with photos, here at Auckland Coal Action’s website. […]

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