Last Saturday 350 group in Christchurch organized a public action against Government fossil fuel subsidies, and were pleased with the support they received from the public.

“People were great,” said Anthony Field, one of the leaders of 350 group in Christchurch.  “A lot of people supported us in our cause and many thanked us for taking a stand.  Most people seemed to be looking for more genuine action from the government on climate change and people were horrified to find that the government actually subsidize fossil fuel companies.”

Campaigners set themselves up outside various petrol stations at different times during the weekend.  They handed out mock $10 notes to passing motorists to signify the money that the government gives to big international oil companies every year.

This year, the Key government gave $46 million in subsidies to big international oil companies,” said Anthony. “That equates to about $10 from each and every one of us.”

This action encouraged people to think about other ways to spend the money. “Rather than giving cash to some of the most profitable corporations in the world, the government should be spending money to help ordinary New Zealanders.  We need money for welfare, for health and education, for renewables and for conservation.”

Many of the people who spoke to campaigners wanted serious action to tackle climate change.  “The public seems to understand that we all need to be moving away from our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Anthony.  “So it makes no sense at all to subsidize the companies that contribute most to climate change.” 

So what you can do now? Write a letter to Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges, letting him know that you want him to reverse this trend of increasing $ support to the fossil fuel industry, and over the next 5 years reduce subsidies to zero, switching them instead to renewable energy, a genuine investment in our future

The photograph shows campaigners gathered outside the BP service station in Fendalton on Saturday.