A leading Kiwi environmental activist's response to the Prime Minister's description of the 1080 infant formula scare as "eco-terrorism" has gone viral.
Steve Abel, who is the climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace, called John Key "New Zealand's number one eco-terrorist" on his personal Facebook page, providing an extensive list of the ways he believes Key and his government have damaged New Zealand's natural environment. The post has been shared almost 700 times, reaching tens of thousands of people.
"I woke up at 4.30am this morning incensed by John Key calling the infant formula blackmailer an eco-terrorist. Whatever the rationale of the reckless idiot who threatened to put 1080 in infant formula, Key's use of it as a chance to take a swipe at the environment movement by implying that person is driven by environmental motives was scurrilous and it reminded me of who the real eco-terrorist is in this country," wrote Abel. (Scroll down for the full post)
Following the announcement earlier this week that Fonterra and Federated Farmers received 1080 contaminated milk powder samples, John Key said at a press conference that the threat was a "form of eco-terrorism, without a doubt".
Speaking to Element Abel said, in his personal opinion, the Prime Minister's statement was "political opportunitism" which took an unfair swipe at the environmental movement.
Abel said that as the contents of the letter had not been made public, there was no proof that it was motivated by environmental motives.
In reality, he said, New Zealand's major environmental organisations -such as Forest and Bird- actively endorsed the use of 1080.
He said he had been impressed with the Police's "dispassionate" and "appropriate" response to the threat.
"When they were asked directly about that term "eco-terrorism", they said well, we wouldn't call it that. It's blackmail."
Terrorism, regardless of the motive, was unacceptable, Abel said, and the threat of poisoning infant formula a "terrible thing".
"In a way Key diminishes the seriousness of it by using it as political opportunity to attack a section of society with who he is in disagreement."
Abel said Key had an "appalling record on the environment" and the environmental movement was "frankly a thorn in his side because we don't sit back while he risks everything we hold dear in this country".
In a post to his personal Facebook page on Tuesday, following Key's statement, Abel gave ten reasons why Key was "New Zealand's number one eco-terrorist" - which he told Element could refer to both people associated with the environmental movement and those harming the environment.
Abel said he was motivated to write the post after he watched Tuesday's press conference and felt that Key's statement was just "dodgy politics".