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Power Co. tries Greenwash at Conference

Power Co. tries Greenwash at Sustainability Conference

Auckland, Thursday, 5 May 2005: Two "fast-spin" green-washing machines and a clothesline of green T-shirts emblazoned 'Coal', 'Mercury', 'Arsenic' and 'Climate Change' greeted the head of Mighty River Power (MRP) as he entered the Sustainability Conference at the Stamford Plaza in Auckland to welcome delegates. A banner reading "Mighty River Power's Greenwash Laundry" clarified the scene.

Greenpeace protesters and local Ruakaka residents who would be affected by the proposed Marsden B coal-fired power station that MRP are pushing as "sustainable", handed out leaflets which mocked MRP's claims to sustainability to delegates.

"We think Mighty River Power has sponsored to the wrong conference," said Greenpeace climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson. "This is a gathering of industries that are meant to be advancing their sustainability programmes but MRP is going backwards fast with their plans to build NZ's first coal fired power station in 25 years".

MRP has sought consent to discharge a raft of toxic chemicals into the environment around Ruakaka and Bream Bay near Whangarei in the course of running Marsden B on coal. The Northland Regional Council received an unprecedented 3000+ submissions opposing the mothballed Mardsden B being refitting as a coal generator.

"Coal is not clean and is certainly not sustainable," said Atkinson. "The fact Marsden B would emit up to two million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year – which directly contributes to the worst environmental problem the world faces – climate change – is enough alone to make mockery of MRP's claims to sustainability."

MRP should stick to what it knows with renewables and put their new generation investments into genuinely sustainable technologies such as wind. And it should make the same commitment as Meridian to only using renewable generation.

MRP failed in their standover tactics against Greenpeace activists on Monday when a Whangarei court threw out the companies demand for the activists to pay $19,000 for 'security costs' during a nine day occupation of Marsden B in February.

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