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John Key needs to stop deep sea oil drilling

John Key needs to stop deep sea oil drilling

John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what he discussed with American oil company Anadarko when he met its CEO on Tuesday, said the Green Party today.

“If John Key is assisting Anadarko the oil company that played a part in last year’s catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill to develop deep sea drilling plans in New Zealand, then he needs to come clean,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

American oil company Anadarko had a 25 percent stake in the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and sunk, spilling over 600,000 tonnes of oil into the sea. The Government has granted Anadarko permits to drill exploratory wells in deep water off the coasts of Canterbury and Taranaki, but drilling has not yet begun.

“It’s madness to allow Anadarko to start a deep water oil drilling program in one of the most important ecological regions on the planet when the company has demonstrated it doesn’t know how to plug deep water oil wells if anything goes wrong,” said Mrs Turei.

“The environmental damage caused by the grounded cargo ship Rena demonstrated that New Zealand doesn’t have the resources or capacity to deal with a small spill in shallow water, let alone a potentially massive and catastrophic deep sea oil spill.

“Let’s learn from the Rena and Deepwater disasters and work harder to protect our shores. The only sure way to protect our environment from deep water oil spills is to say no to deep water drilling.”

Mrs Turei said the Deepwater disaster was a wake-up call, but John Key was sleep walking into the arms of a giant American corporation seeking to exploit our pristine waters.

“We cannot afford a catastrophic oil leak off the coast of New Zealand. It would absolutely ruin our economy,” said Mrs Turei.

“While John Key was taking time out from his campaign to meet with a destructive oil company, we were busy planning how to prevent and protect our shores from future spills.”

From Tauranga this morning, Mrs Turei launched the Green Party’s five-part plan to protect our shores from oil spills. The Green Party would:

· Introduce a moratorium on deep sea oil drilling and exploration;

· Set up an independent inquiry into the speed of the Government response to the Rena grounding, maritime regulations, and the capacity of our maritime services to respond to accidents;

· Implement higher standards for coastal shipping that support the use of local crews and ships that know New Zealand waters and hazards;

· Build Maritime New Zealand’s oil spill response capability and infrastructure; and

· Introduce a stronger legal framework so that when accidents do happen, that the New Zealand taxpayer does not have to pay for the clean-up.

References:

Green Party oil spill protection plan: http://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/green_party_oil_spill_protection_planfinal.pdf

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