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350.org Christchurch: A Protest with a Difference

19 August 2013

350.org Christchurch: A Protest with a Difference

Motorists around Christchurch are being advised to look out for a protest with a difference this weekend.

Members of the group 350.org will be holding protest action at various petrol stations around Christchurch on Saturday and Sunday. But it’s not the petrol stations they are upset with.

“Our argument is with the Government,” said spokesperson Anthony Field. “We know that everyone needs to buy petrol for their cars – but not everyone knows how much the Government is subsidising the big oil companies.”

New Zealand supposedly moved to “free market” economics several years ago – but the Government still gives $46 million a year to big international oil and gas companies. That’s more than 20 times the cost of the recent food-in–schools announcement. The gifts take the form of tax breaks, cheap permits and assistance with exploration. The subsidy has gone up by 700% under the National Government.

“At a time when NZ is struggling to balance the books it’s madness to be giving cash to some of the most profitable corporations in the world,” said Field. “Our protest is aimed at encouraging ordinary Kiwis to contact the Energy Minister, Simon Bridges, to demand that it stops.”

“Most people in New Zealand are doing what they can to reduce their fuel use because we know that we have to take steps to limit climate change,” said Field. “So we are asking the government to support the people in their actions rather than supporting big multinationals.”

At around $46 million a year, the subsidy is a gift of about $10 from every New Zealander into the coffers of the international oil giants like Shell, BP and Anadarko. That’s $10 that could be better spent on welfare, on health, on education, on renewable energy or on conservation. ”It’s ironic that a government which thinks industry should not be subsidised then chooses to subsidise is the richest industry in the world,” said John Adams, another 350.org spokesperson.

“The Government keeps telling us that we don’t have enough money to support those people who need our help. But really we can’t afford to run two welfare systems. We can’t afford to keep supporting profitable and polluting companies from overseas.”

Members of 350.org will be handing out mock $10 notes and staging a mock presentation of a giant cheque at petrol stations around Christchurch this weekend.

More Info from:
• 350.org: http://350.org.nz/
• WWF: http://www.wwf.org.nz/media_centre/news/?10762/New-report-exposes-Government-hypocrisy-on-fossil-fuel-subsidies

ENDS

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