I know that saying you don't like Greenpeace is akin to suggesting throwing a couple of whale steaks on the barbie but, I'm sorry, I really don't like Greenpeace. My irritation began when they planted collectors outside the organic health food shop in Grey Lynn.
I live just around the corner and, given that I pop up to the shops, or the butcher's, or the fruiterer's a couple of times a day, I had clear-eyed earnest young things in eco-friendly cotton trousers and Tibetan prayer scarves constantly shaking their boxes at me and asking me if I'd like to become a member of Greenpeace.
I've been a member in the past - hell, who wasn't after Inspector Clouseau and his hapless team bombed the Rainbow Warrior? But over time, my interest waned and my membership lapsed.
I devoted my time and charity dollar to other organisations. But the clear-eyed earnest things don't take no for an answer - and I guess you wouldn't if you're getting up to $23 an hour for doing God's work. You have to justify your grandiose hourly rate somehow.#"Would you like to sign up to Greenpeace?" one young lovely asked as I charged past, clearly in a hurry. "No thanks," I said. "Why not?" she asked, righteous indignation lacing her every consonant. "Don't you want to save the planet?"#"No," I thought to myself. "No, I don't. Not if you and your poxy, sanctimonious selves are running the bloody thing. Let the orb implode and take me with it."
I icily informed her that I was happy going about saving the planet in my own way and perhaps she'd like to take herself down to Pak n'Save or the Mad Butcher's because campaigning outside an organic health food shop seemed rather like coals to Newcastle. And we know how Greenpeace feels about coal.
The latest staged demonstration at Lyttelton last week stoked my irritation and I think now any vestige of respect for the organisation is gone. But my fury's not just directed at the Greenies. Why on earth does the media continue to play into their hands?
Greenpeace decided it was going to stop a perfectly legal and legitimate delivery of coal from sailing to Europe. While the Rainbow Warrior prevented the coal carrier from leaving port, six protesters boarded the Hellenic Sea and proceeded to make nuisances of themselves before the gaping maw of the TV cameras, which broadcast it at the start of the news and gave Greenpeace exactly what it was after. Attention. It's happened before.
The media - which are alerted in plenty of time that some hot Greenpeace action is going down - record it and although the luvvies end up in court, they get diversion because they're white, upper-middle class, educated twits with too much time on their hands and have lovely parents who pay lawyers' bills.
The organisation gets loads of headlines, the police are diverted from real policing, and the taxpayer foots the bill, just so these sanctimonious zealots can hector me about something they believe is important.
The police have blamed Greenpeace for tying up police resources which probably contributed to one of their officers getting assaulted. The Greenpeace spokeswoman has batted her baby blue eyes and insisted that the police presence was overkill and that there needn't have been so many there.
What complete rubbish. Greenpeace wants as many cops there as possible, because without a police presence and a bit of conflict, the media will ignore the organisation and, without media attention, Greenpeace would wither and die.
I'm sure there are all sorts of worthy idealists within Greenpeace who truly believe that their actions will result in a better world for us all.
And I'm equally sure there are attention-seeking wannabes who see their protests as a higher form of reality TV.
I'm fed up with the lot of them - and I couldn't agree more with one of my callers who reckoned they all needed a bloody great carbon footprint up their collective arses.