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Public must have a say on offshore oil exploration


Public must have a say on offshore oil exploration

All New Zealanders have the right to a say on deep sea oil and gas exploration and must not be shut out of the process, says Labour's Environment spokesperson Maryan Street.

“Kiwis care deeply about their environment and want to have a say on offshore oil exploration. We have seen the consequences first hand with the Rena grounding and overseas with Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Amy Adams’ latest proposed changes mean the public will not be allowed to have their say on activities such as oil and gas exploration, discharges of harmful substances and dumping of waste in the Exclusive Economic Zone. This comes after the Government refused to allow appeals to the Environment Court and, without public consultation, put in a ban on offshore protesting.

“The move comes despite Government assurances to Labour that the process of issuing a Marine Consent through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would allow for public input. That has gone out the window.

“They are turning the EPA into a rubber-stamp.

"A Labour Government in 2014 will ensure that all legislation governing activities in our EEZ provides robust environmental protections and does not shut out affected communities concerned about environmental risks.

“The Government needs to know it has is nothing to fear from the public having a voice in the Environment Protection Agency process. If they want exploration they need to win the debate.

“Protecting our environment protects our international reputation and can save us money in the long run. While oil exploration can bring benefits local communities must have a voice in that decision making.

"Exploratory drilling is not a low-risk activity. It is important to note that the blowout that led to the Deepwater Horizon disaster was in an exploratory well,” says Maryan Street.

ends

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