Climate activists locked on oil supply ship threatened with "draconian" Anadarko Amendment

Press release - January 31, 2018
Wednesday, January 31: Police have warned climate activists currently locked onto an offshore oil exploration support ship in the Port of Taranaki that officials from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) are travelling from Wellington to charge them under the 'Anadarko Amendment'.

The controversial 2013 Amendment to the Crown Minerals Act makes it an offence to interfere with oil exploration ships at sea, and was passed under the National Government without public consultation or a Bill of Rights Act review. It was widely criticised by academics, Labour MPs, and activists alike, and seen as an attempt to stifle peaceful environmental protest against the oil industry.

Greenpeace climate campaigner, Amanda Larsson, calls the move "outrageous".

"This is the oil branch of the Government threatening to use the draconian anti-protest laws passed by the last National Government to stop peaceful protest against oil exploration," she says.

"It’s outrageous that under the new Labour-led Government, which has committed to bold climate leadership, the oil ministry would consider punishing climate activists using this anti-democratic law."

"It was bad enough that the previous National Government used these laws against climate activists, but the supposedly climate-friendly new Labour Government shouldn’t be threatening climate activists with $50,000 fines and 12 months in jail for protesting the oil industry."'

At the time it was passed in 2013, Labour and the Greens strongly opposed the law. Many prominent New Zealanders condemned the amendment, including Dame Anne Salmond and former Labour Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Geoffrey Palmer QC, and other lawyers including the late Sir Peter Williams QC (1).

"With their commitment to climate action, the new Labour Government need to act now to reign in the Ministry of Oil, and more importantly, stop offshore exploration and drilling to fulfill our obligations to tackle climate change. We can’t afford to burn most of the known fossil fuel reserves if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change - searching for more makes no sense," says Larsson.

"As well as stopping offshore oil exploration, the Ardern Government should repeal the Anadarko Amendment and protect the right to peacefully protest in a democratic society.

"These activists have put their bodies on the line to protect our future and our children’s future. If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need to urgently end oil exploration and stop pandering to the oil industry."

In April last year, Greenpeace activists, including Executive Director Dr Russel Norman, swam in front of the Amazon Warrior, 60 nautical miles off the Wairarapa coast, stopping it from seismic blasting for the day.

The activists and Greenpeace were charged for the first time in New Zealand history by MBIE under the Anadarko Amendment. They face a year in jail and up to $300,000 in collective fines. They have pleaded Not Guilty and will face trial in April.