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To: Garry Diack, CEO, Ravensdown; and Mark Wynne, CEO, Ballance Agri Nutrients

Halt all New Zealand imports of phosphate from occupied Western Sahara

We, the undersigned, demand that New Zealand fertiliser companies Ravensdown and Ballance halt all imports of phosphate from occupied Western Sahara until the Saharawi people have been assured of self-determination.

Why is this important?

Two New Zealand fertiliser companies import hundreds of thousands of tonnes of phosphate every year. The phosphate is used by the agriculture industry to make ‘super-fertilisers’ to help the grass grow.

70% of the phosphate supply comes from an occupied territory, Western Sahara.
Western Sahara is about the size of New Zealand, a mineral-rich territory controlled by military force by Morocco since 1975. The United Nations' classifies it as a "non-self-governing territory" and many of its people live in refugee camps across the border, in Algeria.[1]

Western Sahara is still waiting for a referendum for the local population promised in 1991.

In 2017 a boat that contained phosphate bound for New Zealand was detained in South Africa and kept for a year because of its cargo. The South African court concluded that the shipping company had no right to transport phosphates from Western Sahara on behalf of the Moroccan government, as the cargo belonged to the people of the territory.[2]

The import of phosphate is one of the darkest sides of New Zealand’s agricultural industry. Not only is it complicit with the territorial occupation, it is applied in huge amounts onto the land, damaging soils and ends up in the groundwater.[3]

The phosphate trade from Western Sahara implicates farmers and New Zealanders in the plunder of another country’s natural resources.[4]

Mark Wynne, the CEO of Ballance has said he visited Western Sahara and “looked into the social issues”. This is not a credible justification and we ask that the measures of his assessment are made public and transparent.[4]

We wish to know what steps Ballance and Ravensdown have taken to obtain the consent of the people of Western Sahara to take their natural resources.

Until there is an agreed settlement on a path to self-determination, as the United Nations sets out, and consent given by the recognised representatives of Western Sahara, then all imports from this occupied territory should be suspended.

1 -

Western Sahara: UN welcomes withdrawal of Polisario Front from Guerguerat area, UN News, April 2017

2 - Morocco’s Phosphate Cargo Auctioned in South Africa After Pro-Polisario Verdict, 20 Mar 2018

3 - Farmers urged to rethink use of fertiliser, NZ Herald, 15 June 2017

4 - Morocco's charm offensive to protect phosphate sale to NZ, RNZ, 20 April 2018
Human rights violation: NZ companies under fire for fertiliser imports 29 Mar 2015

How it will be delivered

The petition will be delivered to each company's head office.



2021-07-29 20:30:52 +1200

Hello all,
Maybe you are wondering where we are with this petition. We had an opportunity to present the petition directly to one of the importers as part of a television event. This didn't happen. We are still looking at next steps.

In the meantime we are running a Parliamentary petition in parallel to this one. This is in an effort to get us some time in front of a parliamentary select committee. Our hope is that you may wish to sign that as well. -

We have also created this site - and feedback is welcome.

Mike Barton
Western Sahara Campaign-NZ

2019-09-06 19:21:52 +1200

1,000 signatures reached

2019-08-23 19:14:02 +1200

500 signatures reached

2018-09-15 02:36:03 +1200

100 signatures reached

2018-09-13 20:18:42 +1200

50 signatures reached

2018-09-12 08:30:07 +1200

25 signatures reached

2018-06-28 03:41:36 +1200

10 signatures reached