Wednesday, August 14: Close to 100 people are preparing to hand in an eviction notice to Austrian oil giant OMV at its Majestic Centre headquarters in Wellington this morning.
The activity follows a gruelling 14 hour climb three weeks ago by Greenpeace activists, who scaled the side of the Majestic Centre after unveiling a banner reading, "It's a climate emergency", to reach OMV’s offices on the 20th floor.
Upon reaching the offices, Abi Smith and Nick Hanafin announced today’s eviction notice delivery and called on anyone interested to join Greenpeace in serving it.
The eviction notice has now been signed by more than 30,000 people.
From around 9am this morning, those taking part in the hand-in will peacefully demand access to OMV’s office to deliver the notice, however increased security is expected.
Representatives from groups including Oil Free Wellington, 350 Wellington, Extinction Rebellion, Oil Free Otago, and School Strikes 4 Climate are in attendance.
Greenpeace senior campaigner, Steve Abel, says today’s activity is the latest in a series of public protests that challenge OMV’s oil drilling agenda in New Zealand.
"OMV is the last major oil company left in New Zealand that still holds permits to explore for new oil and gas," he says.
"New Zealand is ground zero for the global movement against the oil industry. Almost a decade of relentless pressure by tens of thousands of people culminated in New Zealand becoming one of the first countries in the world to ban new oil and gas exploration permits, covering nearly four million square kilometers of ocean territory.
"In the lead up to the ban, public pressure helped drive out every other oil major that arrived to seismic blast and drill in our oceans, including Petrobras, Anadarko, Statoil (Equinor), and Shell.
"With OMV, it’s really a case of the last oil company standing. By stopping this company, we could put the brakes on offshore oil exploration in New Zealand for good."
OMV plans to drill a number of oil wells off the Taranaki Coast and in the Great South Basin using a 12-storey self-propelled drill rig, which arrived in the country in June.
The company is one of just 100 that have caused more than 70% of the world’s climate emissions.
As well as impacts on the climate, Abel says OMV’s plans threaten wildlife and risk catastrophic oil spills.
"The waters where it will be operating are alive with with a multitude of rare and endangered species, including dolphins, whales, penguins, albatross, seals and sealions," he says.
"If OMV refuses to relinquish its permits here, it can expect resistance every step of the way."
Greenpeace launched a petition today calling on OMV to give up its exploration permits.