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Social Justice Groups Blockade Ravensdown And Ballance Depots, Demand End To ‘Blood Phosphate’ Fertiliser In NZ

Environment and social justice groups are blockading Ravensdown and Ballance fertiliser depots nationwide, demanding an end to the importing of ‘blood phosphate’ from the occupied Western Sahara region and an immediate transition to regenerative farming practices. 

Activists from Extinction Rebellion, Environmental Justice Ōtepoti, and Free Western Sahara have chained themselves to the gates and blockaded Ravensdown and Balance depots, preventing trucks from entering and stopping the distribution of fertiliser. 

The Western Sahara region, which is home to half a million indigenous Saharawi people, is under military occupation by Morocco. About 160,000 Saharawi people have been displaced by the conflict. Morocco extracts rock phosphate from the region, and “New Zealand is the only remaining Western nation” still purchasing the stolen Western Sahara phosphate. Both “Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-nutrients make up one third of the total mined rock demand from Moroccan-run Bou Craa Mine: in the occupied territory, and remain the two largest global purchasers followed by China and India.

Early this month the ship IVS WINDSOR came into Tauranga and Bluff carrying blood phosphate that is illegally mined in the Western Sahara. The mine has no international recognition as a legitimate business, “nor does any country officially recognise Morocco’s occupation or governance as lawful” in the territory. Most of the benefits are kept in Moroccan accounts and benefit Moroccan workers, while many Indigenous Saharawi people are forced to live fearfully in refugee camps in Algeria or beyond. These ships travel in secret because the trade of blood phosphate is likely to break international law. 

Social and Climate Activist Josie Butler says ‘both Ravensdown and Balance are guilty of receiving stolen goods and are supporting a military occupation for the sake of profit’. 

We must look at the effect these companies are having on our international reputation as a clean green nation but also one that prides itself on kindness and integrity. During the horrific events of March the 15 2019 our prime minister said the words ‘they are us’. Sadly through our actions of allowing the plunder of WS to continue we are failing to live up to this powerful statement. If these companies fail to end the importation of ‘blood phosphate’ we demand that 

Jacinda Ardern and her government step up and end it for them. To continue, puts New Zealand’s international reputation into disrepute and is unacceptable.

We also demand that Jacinda Ardern and her government immediately begin investing in green and regenerative transitions for our agriculture industry. “Currently this industry is New Zealand’s largest polluter to our climate and ecosystem”. Ravensdown and Ballance are the life source behind the current model of ‘bigger is better’ by supplying the soil depleting, river polluting synthetic fertilisers that fuel it without any tangible alternative. The whole system must change. 

We will continue to take action until both Ravensdown, Ballance and the Government cease the importation of blood phosphate and start the shift to regenerative food systems.

Last Friday, Morocco broke the 30 year cease fire between Morocco and the Polisario front. A bloody war is now raging in Western Sahara. Ravensdown and Balance are now helping to fund an armed conflict on foreign land and this is unacceptable.

© Scoop Media

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