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Stop the Petroleum Conference for good

Today a coalition of groups and citizens, including Extinction Rebellion, Oil Free Otago, Environmental Justice Otepoti and others, have gathered in Queenstown to strongly oppose the 2019 Petroleum Conference in Queenstown.

Representatives from some of the world’s biggest oil extraction and servicing companies are at the Millenium Hotel from 29 September to 1 October, including Halliburton, multinational Schlumberger whose vessel Amazon Warrior seismic blasted in blue whale territory in 2017, oil giant OMV and Canada’s Greymouth Petroleum along with Australia’s second biggest oil producer Beach Energy and NZ’s own Todd Energy.

Sessions include criticism of the government's offshore ban on new oil and gas permits ("Policy on the Hoof"), exploration of methane hydrates or 'ice gas', production of methane derived hydrogen, and carbon capture and sequestration.

The event is organised by The Petroleum Exploration & Production Association of NZ (PEPANZ) in conjunction with the NZ Government (NZPAM and GNS Science).

“This week, just after our Prime Minister talks up New Zealand’s commitment to solving the climate crisis at the UN, another part of her government is mingling with the very companies most responsible for causing it” the group’s spokesperson Rosemary Penwarden said. "This conference is all about further expansion instead of stopping its use"

The Queenstown Lakes District Council voted 6-5 in favour of declaring a climate and ecological emergency in June. July saw Queenstown’s mean temperature double its average for the month.

“Businesses suffer when the snow stays away.” Ms Penwarden says “The fossil fuel industry is most responsible for the slow demise of this iconic tourist winter wonderland. The burning of fossil fuels causes global warming and that melts snow. It’s not rocket science. It’s climate science. It’s plain physics. This conference should be shunned by the people of Queenstown.”
After years of disruption from climate activists in Auckland, New Plymouth and Wellington the conference went underground this year in an attempt to keep the venue and dates secret. Attendees have been told they will need to stay in-house for their “safety and security”.

“Why are they hiding?” Ms Penwarden asks. “Is it because they know the tide of the climate movement is rising against them, including hundreds of thousands of New Zealand school students?

“We tracked them down and are here today to draw the line. NO MORE fossil fuel expansion. We will not sit by while these companies keep destroying our children’s future. To explore for more oil and gas when we can’t afford to burn what is already discovered is immoral and intolerable.

“We demand the government cancel all remaining fossil fuel exploration permits in Aotearoa.

“We demand an end to the NZ Petroleum Conference for good, and that the government redirect their money towards an immediate and swift transition to a carbon neutral, local, fairer economy. No more empty words.”

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