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Groups ready to disrupt oil summit in New Plymouth

Groups ready to disrupt oil summit in New Plymouth

People from all over Aotearoa are gathering in Taranaki from Tuesday to begin The People’s Climate Rally, which aims to blockade the NZ Petroleum Conference at the TSB Showplace.

The annual oil conference has been moved to Taranaki after previously facing escalating protests in Wellington and Auckland, including thousands taking to the streets, and crowds blockading last year’s SkyCity venue.

At the conference this year, the Government will be announcing the 2017 Block Offer for gas and oil exploration.

The People’s Climate Rally spokesperson, Emily Tuhi-Ao Bailey, says the protests will highlight what is going on behind closed doors.

“Over half a million square kilometres of land and sea have been put up for grabs for these destructive industries to survey, drill, extract and dump toxic waste into so they can produce materials that are killing the planet,” she says.

“Government and corporations have been driving us down a short-term path of resource extraction that benefits the rich while destroying the planet and community. Oil was first drilled here in the 1860s after the land wars began. We have a history of resisting colonisation here in Taranaki, and these oil and gas companies, like their predecessors, will continue to be resisted.

“The climate science is clear: We can’t keep burning fossil fuels if we have any hope of stopping climate change. This recent economic strategy of take, make and waste is pure madness. These resources are running out. There are no jobs on a dead planet. We need communities with real vision of a sustainable future to take the power back.

“The People’s Climate Rally has been organised by a coalition of groups from here in Taranaki and across Aotearoa, to disrupt the conference, showcase real solutions and make sure that this is the generation that ends oil. Together with thousands of people worldwide, we can stop this ecological devastation and work together to create a fair and sustainable future.”

On Tuesday, 21 March, the People’s Climate Rally starts at 2:30pm at Ōwae Marae in Waitara with a pōwhiri and nonviolent direct action training.

On Wednesday 22 March, a day of action begins at 8am at the Clock Tower on Devon Street West, with protest, music and speakers on climate change, fossil fuel extraction and social justice.

Thursday 23 March is a Day of Solutions, starting at 10.30am with demonstrations of hybrid and electric vehicles and bikes in Huatoki Plaza. Talks and workshops with author Dr Terrence Loomis, Coal Action Network’s Jeanette Fitzsimons and Parihaka Pā Renewable Energy Project researchers will be at the Senior Citizens Hall at 27 Liardet Street.

Thursday’s highlight will be the public forum: Just Transition off Fossil Fuels – Can we do it? Panellists include Rosemary Penwarden (co-author of Jobs After Coal), Michael Lawley (Taranaki renewable energy engineer), Al Yates (Ecotricity), John Earney (Avonstour Heritage Organic Farm), Melina Laboucan-Massimo (Lubicon Cree First Nation), Te Tui Shortland (Director of Te Kopu), Greg Skipper (ex-oil driller/fracker) and Sarah Roberts (Taranaki Energy Watch).

Taranaki Artists and Writers Exhibition "Frack Off" is open daily at 11am with gallery talks at 1pm & 7pm on20 - 23 March. JD Reid Gallery, 33a Devon St West.

All are welcome. More details at www.peoplesclimaterallytaranaki.nz

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