New Zealand: Government must investigate phosphate shipments

New Zealand: Government must investigate phosphate shipments

New Zealand will risk its reputation as nation that abides by international law if it allows a newly arrived shipment of phosphate, apparently from Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, to be used in this country without

investigating its origins, the Green Party says.

The shipment, being carried by Panamanian registered Bianco Zealand, has already unloaded part of its shipment in Lyttleton and is due to arrive in Napier at midday today. It has come from the Port of Laayonne in occupied

Western Sahara.

All the evidence we have points to the phosphate being mined in Western Sahara and is being sold by the Moroccan state-owned mining company OCP without the consent of the people of Western Sahara, Green Co-Leader Russel

Norman says.

The United Nations issued a legal opinion in 2002, saying that if Western Sahara’s phosphate was exploited with disregard to the interests and wishes of the people of that country then it would be in breach of international

law. We may now be participating in this breach of international law.

This is potentially damaging to New Zealand’s good reputation. It is certainly not desirable for New Zealand to be seen as a country that is

receiving stolen property, says Dr. Norman

New Zealand farmers don’t realise that they may be fertilising their pasture with phosphate taken from people in Western Sahara living under a military occupation, and I’m sure if they knew they would want to use

alternative sources.

We know that Ravensdown Fertiliser has an agreement with OCP for its Superphosphate product and we call on them and other fertiliser companies to

ensure the phosphate they are buying does not come from Western Sahara.

We also call on the Government to step in to stop such trade.

The people of Western Sahara have had their country occupied by Moroccan troops, surely the very least they deserve from us in New Zealand is that we don’t join in the strip mining of their natural resources by the occupying


Even the United States has excluded products coming from Western Sahara
from its free trade deal with Morocco.

Ravensdown is a cooperative set up by farmers trying to work together for their common good. I support this sentiment and I am sure they would want extend the circle of compassion to the people of Western Sahara by refusing to buy phosphate taken from their country without their permission by an

occupying force, Dr Norman says.

Let’s not fertilise our fields with blood and tears.

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