Human rights violation: NZ companies under fire for fertiliser imports

A protest in the depths of Africa has drawn attention to two New Zealand fetiliser companies.

Ballance and Ravensdown are being urged to stop importing the main fetiliser ingredient phosphate from Western Sahara because of alleged human rights violations.

Forty years ago Morocco invaded Western Sahara and started mining phosphate rock and selling it around the world for millions of dollars.

The United Nations condemned the invasion but the Moroccan government refused to withdraw and continued to mine the fertiliser ingrediant.

Western Sahara Resource Watch spokesman Erik Hagen said: "Morocco is illegally occupying Western Sahara ... so the New Zealand imports is basically, it's helping support the occupation of Western Sahara."

Nine companies worldwide buy Western Saharan phospahte from Morocco, including New Zealand companies Ballance and Ravensdown for farming.

"They have to stop it as soon as possible in order to support the UN peace process," Mr Hagen said.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said he was unaware of the source for the fertilisers which are imported into New Zealand.

Both Ballance and Ravensdown declined to be interviewed by ONE News and referenced an industry body which issued a statement.

The statement read "the Fertiliser Association is aware of what's happening in Western Sahara but that's no reason not to use phosphate rock from the area".

Balance and Ravensdown are being urged to stop importing a main fertiliser ingredient from Western Sahara. Source: 1 NEWS


Plastic harming NZ waters - 'A problem we can't control'

The vast lack of knowledge about the main contributors to plastic in New Zealand's waters has been highlighted at Parliament today.

The environment select committee heard this morning from the Department of Conservation (DOC), the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and Seafood New Zealand on the matter of plastic waste in the ocean.

But all agreed the majority of plastic in this country's Exclusive Economic Zone did not actually come from New Zealand.

Steven Harris - who is currently working with the Commonwealth Clean Ocean's Alliance - said any proper solution for cleaning up New Zealand's waters must be an international one.

"Whether it be the 12-mile limit or the 200-nautical mile limit, we are really only dealing with a portion of a problem that we can't control. We can only control a segment of it," he said.

He agreed with other contributors to the committee that data on ocean plastic was inadequate.

Kath Blakemore, who manages DOC's marine ecosystems team, said New Zealand had a "lack of information" in shore and "even more so" for the country's wider ocean zones.

She said while DOC was not the lead agency when it came to gathering this data, it was involved with projects alongside MPI and groups like Sustainable Coastlines to get a better picture of what the country was dealing with in this space.

But Mr Harris said New Zealand was by no means blameless, citing a recent study by 5 Gyres and Algalita Marine Research of ocean plastics off the coast of Chile.

"A huge proportion of what they trawled out of the ocean was fishing containers, and more than you would like to think came from New Zealand," he said.

Seafoods New Zealand chair Craig Ellison said these containers, which are made from polystyrene and used by commercial and recreational fishers to keep fish cold and fresh, were his "personal curse".

The bins break easily into microplastics and contained poisonous chemicals which were extremely harmful to marine life.

Mr Ellison said the industry acknowledged plastic polution was a pervasive global problem and of particular threat to New Zealand's marine environment, and it wanted to do better.

But he said there just was not a viable alternative yet.

"They've got thermo-dynamic properties, they've got strength properties, they've got lightness, they fit the bill in everything - and they're cheap. So how do you replace that?"

Mr Ellison said the replacements and substitutes are more expensive, but there was hope further investment and innovation could bring that cost down. He said they were looking at material like hemp and fungal substitutes.

"All those sorts of things. So there is an international focus on this, but I'd say it's haphazard."

A plastic-collection system is being towed from California in a bid to scoop millions of tonnes of plastic waste in the ocean.
Source: BBC

Large yacht stranded on sand at Christchurch beach, one person injured

A yacht stranded on the sand at New Brighton beach has proved a popular sight for people in Christchurch today.

Police were notified shortly after 6.30pm yesterday that the 10-metre yacht had tipped over in the shallows.

A man who on board the yacht made it safely to shore, but was taken to hospital to be checked over.

The man was transported to hospital last night following the incident. Source: 1 NEWS


Jacinda Ardern marks suffrage 125 and 'amazing lengths' women made in right to vote

The Prime Minister paid tribute to suffragettes and leading New Zealand women in a speech celebrating 125 years since women won the right to vote in New Zealand. 

1 NEWS reporter Nicole Bremner has the latest from outside the hospital.
Jacinda Ardern. Source: 1 NEWS

Jacinda Ardern told the audience it was special "to be in Christchurch to mark suffrage 125, the home of Kate Sheppard, and Elizabeth McCombs, the first woman MP, and Mabel Howard, the first female cabinet Minister."

"Is there something in your water?"

Ms Ardern spoke of the "amazing lengths" women went to to gain the right to vote.

"Women who walked miles through the night, to get a chance to sign. Women who took a leap of faith, and risked their standing, their marriages, in some cases, to put their name on a document with no guarantee it’d lead to any success at all."

"They were ordinary women, but each was extraordinary in their own way."

Within the ordinary sits the extraordinary. Each of the women, who just got on with it, has a story that can inspire us, to just get on with it too.

Ms Ardern said issues people like Kate Sheppard, Elizabeth Mabel, Whetu Tirikātene-Sullivan, and Helen Clark were fighting for, "economic independence, freedom from violence, equal pay, are issues we are still grappling with today". 

Speaker lays complaint after kererū left at Parliament appears to be 'killed by bludgeoning'

The Speaker has laid a formal complaint with police and DOC after dead native birds were left on the steps of Parliament yesterday. 

"I've been briefed today the birds died from blunt-force trauma," Trevor Mallard said.

"The kererū appears to have been killed by bludgeoning."

Fake 1080 pellets and the dead birds were placed on the steps of Parliament by Ban 1080 protesters. 

1 NEWS was told by protesters from the West Coast that the dead birds were collected over time, then left on the top step of Parliament. The protesters at Parliament said they had been given the box of birds, with some having been "picked up as road kill". 

"So we had something to use as a prop to demonstrate what happens in the forest."

When asked if the birds had been killed through window-strike, Mr Mallard said that was why the investigation was taking place.

"They were certainly killed by blunt-force trauma."

"‎Kererū and weka, amongst other protected native species, were among the dead birds deposited on the steps of Parliament," Mr Mallard said today. 

He said the Wildlife Act meant it was an offence to kill protected wildlife and to have any in possession. 

It will be investigated at Massey University. 

Speaker Trevor Mallard has taken the matter to the police and DOC. Source: 1 NEWS