Ardern Government to accept end oil petition outside Parliament today

Press release - March 19, 2018
The Minister of Energy and Resources, Megan Woods, will accept a Greenpeace petition at midday today signed by more than 45,000 people calling for an end to oil exploration.

The event on Parliament Lawn will include representatives from Forest and Bird, WWF, Oil Free Wellington, OraTaiao (New Zealand Climate & Health Council), as well as Greenpeace Executive Director Russel Norman, and actor Lucy Lawless.

It will feature four large signs that depict historic stances taken by previous Labour leaders and call on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to make history by ending oil and gas exploration.

It is the latest in a series of recent activities throughout the country urging the new Government to take action on climate change.

In the lead-up to the election, Ardern was widely praised for stating that climate change is the nuclear free moment of her generation.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, says the Prime Minister must now turn those words into tangible action.

“The world can’t afford to burn even existing fossil fuel reserves let alone seek out new oil and gas if we want to avoid catastrophic warming,” she says.

“Searching for new oil or gas is senseless, and we’re asking the Jacinda Ardern Government to put an end to it.”

Last week, an open letter signed by more than 60 notable individuals and associations including scientists, health professionals, iwi leaders, unions, businesspeople, journalists, poets, actors and musicians, was launched to encourage Ardern and her Government to turn “passion into action” on climate change.

Dame Jane Campion, New Zealander of the Year Taika Waititi, climate change Professor James Renwick, Victoria University’s Vice Chancellor Grant Guilford, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh and actor Lucy Lawless are among the signatories.

Campion, a world-leading screenwriter, producer, and director, says tackling climate change is a necessity.

“For me, supporting my Prime Minister’s aim to move strongly and decisively to address climate change is a clear necessity; I want my daughter and all others to inherit a viable planet. Nothing on this earth is more important,” she says.

Iwi and hapū up and down the country have expressed a longstanding opposition to oil exploration.

Most recently, a national gathering of Māori leaders came to an historic agreement to oppose all seismic testing and oil exploration in the waters of New Zealand. The Iwi Chairs Forum passed the resolution to seek amendments to the EEZ Act to give effect to this opposition.

The biggest councils in New Zealand have also opposed oil exploration.

Auckland City Council, Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, Dunedin City Council, Kaikoura District Council, and Gisborne District Council are among those that have formally opposed the annual Block Offer process implemented by the previous National Government, which sees vast tracts of New Zealand’s land and sea offered to oil and gas companies for exploration.

The new Jacinda Ardern Government has not yet announced whether or not it will continue with this annual process.

The Greenpeace event comes a day before another petition hand in by Coal Action Network Aotearoa, calling on the Government to rule out the expansion of fossil fuels in New Zealand by not allowing the Te Kuha coal mine on the West Coast.