Government must ensure Solid Energy buyers live up to standards

The Green Party is calling for the Government to ensure that any overseas companies that buy state-owned Solid Energy’s assets are properly vetted for their commitment to workplace safety, local communities, and environmental issues.

“The world is full of coal companies with terrible safety and environmental records and it’s very important that the Government doesn’t sell out Kiwi workers and communities to these global coal cowboys,” Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.

“The Government got Solid Energy into this mess by loading it up with debt, so it has a responsibility to its workers, their families and communities, to make sure livelihoods and the local environment are protected.

“Very little is known about Australian company Mach Energy, which is reported to have swooped in to kick the tyres on Solid Energy, except that it’s backed by global investors looking to cash in on coal.

“Rumours that Coal India is looking to buy the Stockton mine come in the wake of revelations that the company has presided over 46 recorded workplace fatalities and 186 serious injuries just last year, expanded mines without regulatory approval, and left old mines un-remediated.

“Will the Government sell off Solid Energy’s assets for a song, to environmental and social cowboy coal companies?

“The Government needs to invest in transitioning to new economic opportunities in places like the West Coast because in the longer term coal isn’t sustainable, but in the meantime it must do right by workers and communities and ensure we keep the overseas coal cowboys out,” said Mr Hughes.