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Government to extend protest ban



Energy and Resources Spokesperson

Government to extend protest ban

The National Government is using urgency to extend a controversial ban on protesting against deep sea drilling, says Labour’s Energy spokesperson Moana Mackey.

“Not content with stripping away the democratic right to protest in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Government is now under urgency extending this protest ban over the continental shelf - a further 1.7 million square kilometres.

“The restrictions and related criminal charges recently introduced in the EEZ only apply to protest vessels, and only those targeting oil and gas exploration.

Anyone else behaving in a dangerous or reckless manner, or in a way that would be illegal in our territorial waters, is not covered. So the Minister's claim that this is first and foremost about safety is patently not true.

“While the Government’s initial moves to ban protesting in our EEZ were worrying enough, the changes being introduced under urgency are even more concerning. Extending the ban further into the high seas is more likely to be inconsistent with international law given New Zealand does not have the right to regulate other activities in this area.

“The Bill needs to go to a select committee so that these critical questions can be answered.

“The Minister also needs to reassure New Zealanders that this change, along with others in the Bill, isn’t being passed purely to progress the permit being sought by Shell and China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

“It would be one hell of a coincidence if it wasn’t.

“We know the Government is desperate to expedite deep sea drilling, regardless of the risks, because it has no plan B for the economy.

“But running roughshod over the democratic rights of Kiwis to protest, and putting New Zealand at serious risk of breaching international law, is completely unacceptable.”


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