Court case thrown out ; outcome shows that Government abused authority to stop protests for oil giant
Auckland, Thursday 26 July 2012: Today in the Tauranga District Court, Justice Treston threw out charges against Elvis Teddy, the fisherman who used his small boat to oppose the Government’s plans to allow deep sea oil drilling in his fishing grounds off the East Cape, last April.
Teddy was a part of the Stop Deep Sea Oil Flotilla that at the time was protesting a deep sea survey being undertaken on behalf of the Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.
“Greenpeace celebrates Elvis Teddy’s acquittal after a year of uncertainty and stress for Elvis, his family and Te Whanau a Apanui, and thanks them all for the frontline-stand they have taken, and continue to take, against deep sea oil exploration and drilling,” says Simon Boxer, Senior Climate Campaigner for Greenpeace New Zealand.
Under orders from Wellington, the Navy and the Police were being used to prevent the members of the Stop Deep Sea Oil Flotilla from protesting outside New Zealand’s territorial waters , when the Police arrested Teddy.
“The Judge ruled that the section of law the authorities were operating under had no jurisdiction past 12 nautical miles from the coast, yet the police went ahead anyway and arrested Elvis,” Boxer says.
“Yet again the Government’s desire to kowtow to international oil giants has led it to shoot first and ask the hard questions later.
“The Government’s dirty fossil fuels agenda is riding roughshod over the rights, values and concerns of New Zealanders, as well as its Treaty and international obligations.
“The Government wants to have it both ways. On one hand it illegitimately extends its authority beyond 12 nautical miles to stop peaceful protest, while at the same time it is pushing the deliberately weak EEZ Bill through Parliament, after the oil permits have been granted, which does not even meet New Zealand’s obligations under the International Law of the Sea - let alone protect our coastlines,” Boxer says.
“The Government is being reckless in taking risks with our economy, our coastline and way of life, in opening up our waters to deep sea oil drilling.
“So far the Deepwater Horizon disaster has cost the United States economy $US40 billion. It forced the authorities to close off an area to fishing twice the size of the North Island. Such a disaster off our coast would be devastating to our economy, and have a severe impact on many industries, especially tourism and fishing, as well as severely damaging our international reputation.
“The Government’s fossil fuels agenda is causing New Zealand to miss out on billions of dollars of clean energy contracts and thousands of jobs. To ignore the financial opportunities for New Zealand arising from the global clean energy revolution, that last year was worth over US$250 billion (1), is nothing short of economic mismanagement," says Boxer.