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Protesters with a Smile!

Protesters with a Smile!

There’ll be plenty of good humour at protests this weekend organised by the Christchurch branch of 350.Aotearoa.

Motorists will be looking out for the protesters at petrol stations around the city – but they have nothing to fear.

Spokesperson Anthony Field explained “We have no dispute with car drivers needing to fill the tank. Our protest is targeted at the government who are subsidising the oil and gas industries to the tune of $46 million a year.” Buying petrol is where most people come face to face with the oil industry so that’s where the protests will be happening.

“Our purpose is to make people aware of the scale of the subsidy and the fact that this is our money being handed over to some of the richest and dirtiest corporations in the world,” said Field. “We hope that people will join us in contacting John Key or his minister for energy, Simon Bridges, to ask for an end to the subsidies.”

Protesters will be fully briefed before the event and won’t be getting in anyone’s way. “We’ll be staying on the footpath and handing out information in the form of a mock-$10 note” said spokesperson John Adams. “$46 million is roughly equal to $10 from every man, woman and child in New Zealand. Currently the government chooses to give my $10 to the oil companies. There are many better uses for that money.”

Motorists will be asked if they would like their $10 to be spent on health, education, welfare, conservation – or as a gift to profitable companies from overseas.

350.Aotearoa is a climate change organisation and there is a strong link between these subsidies and the fight against climate change. “We all understand that we need to break our addiction to fossil fuels if we are to limit climate change,” explained Adams. “So it makes no sense to be encouraging those industries – we need to move away from them.”

Fears have recently been expressed about the possibility of deep water oil drilling in Pegasus Bay off Canterbury. “That’s water deeper than in the Gulf of Mexico where the recent spill and tragedy happened,” said Fields. “People don’t want that sort of thing on our beautiful coastline. That’s why we’re asking the government to stop the subsidies that support this type of exploration.”

Motorists are encouraged to talk to the 350.Aotearoa protesters at petrol stations this weekend to learn more.


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