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Letter of Position from Parihaka

Letter of Position from Parihaka Hongongoi 2011

To the United Nations, the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development
and the NZ Petroleum & Minerals Department, the Department of Labour, the
Energy Minister, the Taranaki Regional Council, and all Companies wishing
to operate or buy into Petroleum works in our environment.

Ngā mihi,

We, the people of Parihaka, who are the descendants, morehu and followers
of Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi who meet every month on the Raa
(the 18th and 19th of every month), wish to inform you that we do not
consent to the mass expansion of exploratory surveying and drilling for
petroleum products in the environment of our papakainga.

1. We do not grant permission for use of our tūpuna and papakainga names
for the permits granted by the government, namely Tohu PEP 51149 and
Parihaka PEP 51558. We find this deeply offensive to the kaupapa held by
Tohu Kakahi, Te Whiti o Rongomai and the people of Parihaka. We were not
consulted about this and we would like to know who, if anyone was
consulted with for the use of these names.

2. We have serious concerns about the pollution of the moana, kaimoana and
coastline in our environment from offshore oil spills, and the damage to
marine life from the offshore seismic surveying. There are several oil and
gas rigs off our coast with exploration in progress to construct many more
A large spill or continuous oil spills will seriously affect everyone's
ability to use and enjoy this marine environment and badly damage the
country's 'clean, green' image and the billion dollar tourism and fishing

3. We are concerned about the injection of unknown and known toxic
chemicals into drilling fluids and the dumping of the waste on, into and
under land, by or in waterways or in underground aquifers or discharging
it to the air. The regional council monitoring reports are insufficient
protection because their testing does not cover all chemicals being used,
it is not independent and the required safety levels of chemicals are
regularly being breached without proper clean up or future preventions
being put in place. The resource consents that are required are generally
non-notified, despite the activities being of interest to the wider
community, especially tangata whenua who have a long history and long-term
commitment to settlement here. What is more the regional council deems
resource consents unnecessary for seismic surveying on land despite the
storage and use of explosives, unknown chemicals and dumping of drilling
wastes in our communities.
The continued and increased pollution of Taranaki lands and waters will
further negatively impact our communities' health and the local billion
dollar farming, tourism and fishing industries on which much of the
Taranaki community, and indeed much of the country, currently depends.

4. We also have grave concerns about the NZ government's granting of the
permits for this massive increase in petroleum exploration in our
environment. This is during the scientifically-proven onset of climate
change with full knowledge that fossil fuels make up a major portion of
this country's greenhouse gas emissions that are damaging the planet's
Climate change and peak oil have catastrophic implications for billions of
people around the world and for the survival of other fauna and flora. The
permits allow far too much petroleum product to be taken far too quickly
for the planet to cope with and leaves little for the future well-being of
our uri (offspring).

5. We fear for the drill-site and rig workers. The current speed of
petroleum extraction by industry and government does not provide
sufficient safety mechanisms to minimise damage to the environment and
site workers. All people deserve the dignity of a safe working place.
Already we have lost far too many people to the unsafe fossil fuel
extraction industry and we do not want to lose any more.

Under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and He Wakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Niu
Tirini and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples we retain our rights of “tino rangatiratanga” (sovereignty) over
our “whenua” (lands), “kainga” (homes) and “taonga katoa” (all that we
treasure). Under The Treaty of Waitangi the crown also guaranteed all
Maori “exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates,
forests, fisheries and other properties.”

Many waahi tapu have been damaged or destroyed in Taranaki from earth
works for well sites and other activities. At least four oil spills in the
last ten years have denied hapu the ability to eat their kaimoana for some
period of years. All the activities in points 1 to 5 of this letter are in
direct breach of the above agreements with the crown, and breach
international laws of human rights by threatening surety of the
necessities of life such as safe, clean drinking water and healthy food.

The ownership of many of the desired lands for drilling, including
subterranean, seabed, water and airways and in particular the EEZ
(Exclusive Economic Zone), are or soon will undergo lengthy and expensive
legal proceedings to determine treaty settlement and ownership. This will
create an unstable and expensive atmosphere for any exploration or
drilling companies wishing to proceed their activities in this region.
Promised protests and land occupations will also disrupt activities and
will call on government to decline permits.

We have had over a hundred years of petroleum exploration and production
in the greater Taranaki region which has contributed to the country's
economy and resource base. The activities have however caused known and
unknown harm to the local and global environment. Councils and government
have had the imposed governance of these areas in this time and they have
failed. These petroleum resources need to be recognised under the
katiakitanga and ownership of Maori to ensure their availability for the
greater good of all people for all time, as we move to reduced energy
consumption and renewable energy sources.

To the government, we demand that you cease the permitting of petroleum
mining and exploration in our environment. To the regional council, we
demand that you cease the granting of resource consents for those mining
activities. To the companies, we demand that you cease your exploration
and drilling activities in our environment now. We call on the United
Nations to investigate these breaches of human rights and we call on our
thousands of whanau and supporters nationally and internationally to
oppose this current mass expansion of petroleum exploration.

Witnessed by:

Rangikotuku Rukutai, Kaitiaki o Toroanui Marae
Maata Wharehoka, Kaitiaki o Te Niho o Te Atiawa
Ruakere Hond, Kaikorero o Te Paepae o Te Raukura

[Copied to: the South Taranaki and the New Plymouth District Councils, the
local MPs, PKW, TPK, the Taranaki Iwi Trust, the Maori Party, the Mana
Party, the Iwi Chairs Forum and ALL MEDIA]

© Scoop Media

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