I am setting sail with the Oil Free Seas flotilla. We’re heading towards the site where the now infamous Texan oil giant Anadarko will attempt to drill. It’s about 110 nautical miles to the west of Raglan, and around one and a half kilometres under the ocean. A blow-out here could see oil belched into seas, and slop onto our beaches. Even Anadarko’s own information on the disastrous effects of an oil spill shows this. But both they, and their ‘yes-men’ in the National Government, have refused to release this to the people of Aotearoa.

I should be clear here: both the oil industry and the government are hiding the possible effects of an oil spill from the people of New Zealand.

Yachts join the flotilla

Our children want fresh surf to splash and fish in. But this is not the only reason I am sailing. They also want jobs, and prosperity. And if you’re looking for the energy sector to provide these, then oil just is not the place to look.

I am sailing for the economic well-being of our nation. And this could, and should, be boosted by clean-tech industries like geothermal and bioenergy. Almost 30,000 jobs could be created in areas like these. The geothermal industry, by itself, could have export opportunities worth over NZ$4billion to the economy every year. These figures are just the beginning. The world is moving away from polluting fuels like oil.

The powerful economies of tomorrow will be run on the clean energy decisions made today.

And New Zealand has a wealth of the knowledge, experience and skills to lead the way. There’s a booming clean economy just about to take-off. And we could be more than just a part of it. We could lead it. But at the moment, we’re being taken the wrong way. And that’s bad news for our economy. 

That is why I am sailing. But there is also another reason. In 1985 I was a crew member of the Rainbow Warrior, when she was bombed in Auckland by the French secret service. Our captain was a guy called Peter Wilcox. Right now, my good friend Pete is locked up in Russia. He’s one of the 'Arctic 30', which also includes the brave kiwis David Haussmann and Jonathan Beauchamp. They’re facing absurd charges of piracy and hooliganism for peacefully protesting about oil drilling in the other side of the planet, in the Arctic.

The Arctic 30 may be imprisoned in Russia. And their protest was at the other end of the world. But they are sailing with me, from the Arctic to Aotearoa.


You can support the Arctic 30 here and you can support the Oil Free Seas flotilla here.




This article was published in the Waikato Times