Friday, 18 September 2009

Govt admits palm kernel imports aid deforestation

Government admits palm kernel animal feed contributes to rainforest destruction.

Tauranga, 17 September 2009 – John Key’s Government today admitted that production of palm kernel animal feed is helping destroy Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests.

In response to questions in Parliament about palm kernel imports, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, speaking on behalf of Prime Minister John Key, admitted that the production of palm kernel harms the environment saying, "Of course, it has some impact; the Government does not deny that."

Mr English also sought to deflect attention from Fonterra’s use of palm kernel by twice challenging Greenpeace to picket the nation's supermarkets over palm-oil products such as margarine, processed foods and soap.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner Simon Boxer said Mr English’s statement showed that the government had moved its position.

“It’s clear that the Government has been poorly advised by Fonterra on the realities of the rainforest and climate destruction wrought by the palm industry. The Government knows New Zealand’s palm kernel imports impact the world’s climate and are damaging our clean, green reputation. John Key needs to stop listening to Fonterra and act to stop palm kernel imports.”

Following on from yesterday’s blockade of a palm kernel shipment by Greenpeace activists over 100 people, including farmers, gathered at a public rally outside the Port of Tauranga late today to demonstrate support for stopping palm kernel imports.

The 15 activists involved in yesterday’s blockade were arrested and charged with summary offences and will appear in Tauranga District Court next Wednesday.