Let down as Mayor Len Brown backs deep sea oil drilling

Press release - October 29, 2015
Auckland, October 29: Auckland Mayor Len Brown made his position on deep sea oil drilling clear today as he voted against an amendment to oppose exploration for oil off Auckland’s west coast.

Until now, the mayor has not taken a public position either way.

Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Steve Abel, who made a formal presentation at the council meeting, says Brown’s vote was a “cop out”.

“Essentially, he’s backed deep sea oil drilling today by voting against an amendment that would have clearly stated that Auckland opposes deep sea oil drilling,” Abel says. “It all came down to Brown, and Brown let us down.”

Dozens of people with placards attended the Auckland City Council meeting, where councillors voted on Auckland’s submission to the Government in regards to oil exploration and drilling.

In the lead up to the meeting, over 15,000 emails were sent to Brown and his councillors, imploring them to vote against any surveying or drilling off Auckland’s coast.

But at the meeting, Brown said taking a symbolic stand against the issue would do no good for the council’s relationship with the Central Government.

It was his vote that was decisive and led to the council's failure to oppose risky drilling at the final head count of 11-9.

Had Brown opposed surveying and drilling, the votes would have been tied on 10-10. Then as chair of the meeting, his casting vote would have decided.

Abel says it all came down to Brown.

“The council meeting is the only formal point in the process where the public can have their say on the issue of awarding foreign petroleum companies licenses to explore our seas for oil. Brown even acknowledged this, saying the public have ‘no other port to call at’ than local councils in terms of opposing drilling, yet he chose to not give the public opposition to drilling any voice,” he says.  

“He went against the spirit of statements he has often made about the value of our oceans, harbours and beaches. Len Brown has failed our oceans, our coastlines, our climate and the people of Auckland.”

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