Stop deep sea oil tour to begin in the North
Representatives from Greenpeace New Zealand, and East Coast iwi te Whānau-ā-Apanui, will begin a tour of the Far North on August 1, during which they will be forging alliances with iwi, commercial and recreational fishing groups, tourism bodies, environment groups, and community organizations, in opposition to the Government’s plans to bring Gulf of Mexico-style deep sea drilling to the West Coast of the North Island.
Greenpeace will be represented by Mike Smith, and te Whānau-ā-Apanui by Dayle Takitimu.
On Friday 15 July, a statement was issued that no exploration permits had been issued in any of the dozen Northland and Reinga blocks, which stretch over 150,000 square kilometres of ocean from Muriwai beach, west of Auckland, to Cape Reinga, and out to the far boundary of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, 200 miles out to sea. Most of the proposed oil drilling area is in extreme deep water, which exceeds depths of 1,000 metres.
The Ministry of Economic Development has said little as to why it has not issued any drilling permits, but Smith believes that Greenpeace and te Whānau-ā-Apanui’s strong and united fight against Petrobras, and its oil survey off the East Cape, has made deep sea oil drilling too contentious for an election year.
“We believe it was due to community and public pressure that the Government has not issued permits and the industry’s interest has cooled.
“However we must remain vigilant to ensure that if Northland’s waters come back on the table for oil drilling after the election – we are ready to stop it,” says Smith.
“BP’s Deepwater Horizon was operating in 1500 metres of water. Parts of the Northland and Reinga blocks are as deep as 1800 metres and two kilometres deep respectively. After the explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon, millions of barrels of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico. That did enormous, long-lasting damage to livelihoods, communities, and the Gulf environment. It would be insane to risk the same happening to the Hokianga, Spirits Bay, the Kaipara, or quite possibly, all three,” says Takitimu.
“The burning of fossil fuels like oil is bringing us all closer to the point at which we trigger a state of runaway climate change.
“Clean energy, and the building of a clean economy, is vital if humans are to prosper and survive,” Takitimu says.
Last year, US$211 billion was invested in renewables around the world – more than was invested in fossil fuels.
“Aotearoa is running out of time to become a part of the global clean energy revolution. The Government must drop its fossil fuels subsidies, and start giving this country’s cleantech sector the encouragement it needs,” Smith says.
He and Dayle Takitimu will be holding the following public meetings as part of their tour:
Monday August 1: Whangarei - Otangarei marae 6.00pm - 9.00pm
Tuesday August 2: Kaikohe - Memorial Hall 9 .30am - 12.00noon
Wednesday August 3: Hokianga - Rawene Hall 6.00pm - 9.00pm
Thursday August 4: Kaitaia - REAP Centre 6.00 pm - 9.00pm
Friday August 5: Kaeo - Memorial Hall 6.00pm - 9.00pm