Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Labour MP slams Greenpeace spoof

Shane Jones, a former Sealord chairman, also singles out Green Party for its support of parody ad

A Greenpeace spoof of a Sealord advertisement has brought an angry reaction from Labour MP Shane Jones, who has accused the environmental group as anti-worker and duplicitous towards Maori.

Mr Jones, a former Sealord chairman, also singled out the Green Party, "the political wing of the Greenpeace movement", for its support of the stunt, which he felt undermined the company in a tough economic climate.

As part of a campaign for sustainable fishing, Greenpeace New Zealand dubbed over a Sealord television commercial which featured the company's employees, and used it to criticise what it believed were harmful fishing practices.

The Greenpeace version of the advert, released online, said: "For Sealord, sustainability is about sustaining its image."

The mock advertisement was promoted by Green MP Gareth Hughes on Twitter.

Mr Jones said it was "a step too far" and the equivalent of economic vandalism at a time when jobs were scarce.

"When the Green Party and the Green Priests [Greenpeace] take on a role of using that ad to humiliate, trash and parody not only the brand of the company but its workers, it's a step too far."

He described green groups as two-faced for supporting East Coast Maori in anti-offshore drilling protests but attacking the Maori-owned Sealord.

"They love to cuddle up to us [Maori] when it's stopping mining in Te Kaha, but they want to shit all over us when it's a fishing company.

He added: "Their concerns are about some obscure ecosystem ... while New Zealanders are losing their jobs all over the place."

Sealord is half-owned by Maori trust Te Ohu Kai Moana.

Company spokeswoman Alison Sykora said it was disappointed Greenpeace had mocked its hard-working employees in the parody.

Mr Jones, who left Sealord to become an MP in 2005, received $10,000 in campaign donations from the company last year.

Mr Hughes, who is Greens' oceans spokesman, said parody played an important role in political debate and there was a serious issue beneath the stunt - which was intended to focus on harmful fishing methods.

"These actors who appeared in the video presumably were paid and gave their permission to, in effect, be spokespeople for Sealord. They should be able to be taken to account for Sealord's practices."

Greenpeace campaigner Mike Smith dismissed Mr Jones' comments about Maori.

"It's not a question of black or white, it's a question of right or wrong. We're aligned with some iwi because they're doing the right thing and we're criticising Sealord because they're doing the wrong thing."

Greenpeace New Zealand has fought a long battle against Sealord for obtaining tuna from fishing companies which used fish aggregation devices and purse seine nets in the Western Pacific.

Sealord said these fishermen used aggregators at limited times because the technology increased efficiency.

What he said:

On the Green Party: "Using that ad to humiliate, trash and parody ... its workers, it's a step too far."

On Greenpeace:

"They love to cuddle up to us [Maori] when it's stopping mining in Te Kaha, but they want to shit all over us when it's a fishing company.

- NZ Herald

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