NZ fertiliser importers defend their imports

The New Zealand Fertiliser Association, representing the controversial importing companies in New Zealand is quoted by national TV that they are "aware of what's happening in Western Sahara but that's no reason not to use phosphate rock from the area".

Published 29 March 2015

The two fertiliser companies Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd and Ravensdown supply all fertiliser on the New Zealand market. Almost all these fertilisers are based on phosphate from a Moroccan state owned company operating in occupied Western Sahara. The issue was covered on the New Zealand government broadcaster One News 29 March 2015.

The Western Sahara Resource Watch report P for Plunder - 2014, launched in New Zealand 16 March 2015, documents that the Pacific nation is the third biggest importer of the controversial rock from the occupied territory. The New Zealand Primary Industries Minister stated to One News he was not fully aware of the origins of the fertilisers. 

"Taking minerals that have been taken effectively by an occupied power, I think is quite unethical", stated leader of the Greens in New Zealand, Russel Norman. 

The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand issued on 23 March 2015 a media statement underlining that its member companies will continue the imports of phosphates from Western Sahara. The association has two member companies - Ballance and Ravensdown. 

The association stated to One News that "the Fertiliser Association is aware of what's happening in Western Sahara but that's no reason not to use phosphate rock from the area".

The territory of Western Sahara is treated by the United Nations as an unresolved colonial issue, and is partially under occupation of neighbouring Morocco. The exports of phosphates constitutes the main Moroccan income from the territory.

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