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Climate protesters shut down New Plymouth oil giant

Monday, December 2: Around a hundred climate protesters led by Greenpeace have formed a human barricade around the offices of an overseas oil corporation in Taranaki - shutting it down.

They’re the first wave of a rolling occupation of the headquarters of OMV in New Plymouth.

It’s the latest in a series of protests against OMV - the last major overseas oil company with permits to search for offshore oil and gas in Aotearoa.

OMV’s 34,000 tonne oil rig is right now approximately 50 nautical miles off the Taranaki Coast, preparing to begin exploratory drilling.

Greenpeace New Zealand Programme Director, Niamh O’Flynn, says the organisation is bringing the resistance to OMV’s front door step.

"If we stand any hope of averting a climate catastrophe we need to rid ourselves of this final villain looking for new oil and gas that we just can’t afford to burn," she says.

Monday’s peaceful protest at the OMV headquarters in New Plymouth will comprise of a huge variety of New Zealanders, students, grandparents, professionals and first time activists.

It brings in people from a wide coalition of environmental groups including Greenpeace, School Strike 4 Climate, Extinction Rebellion, 350 Aotearoa, Climate Justice Taranaki and Oil Free groups from across the country.

"As we face the climate crisis, it’s great to see all these brave kiwis prepared to come together just when the world needs them," says O’Flynn.

"We want to send a clear message to OMV: We’re over it. They must acknowledge their role in heating the planet and give up their oil and gas exploration permits."

Members of the group of around 30 people that earlier this week boarded the OMV "henchboat" Skandi Atlantic in Timaru and occupied it for three days, have also joined the protest.

The Skandi Atlantic was preparing to leave the Port of Timaru and travel north to meet the OMV oil rig, but was delayed by the occupation.

OMV is about to begin drilling three exploratory oil wells there, and another in the Great South Basin off the Otago coast.

"While the science is unequivocal that we must transition our society to clean energy and away from a dependence on oil, gas and coal - it must be a just transition so that the workers and communities currently employed in fossil fossil fuel industries are not left behind," says O’Flynn.

"There are real employment opportunities in clean energy, including solar, onshore and offshore wind, new infrastructure, and the electrification of transport and industry."


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