Auckland, 15 February 2014 – Mainlanders headed to the beach in droves today to demonstrate their opposition to deep sea oil drilling in New Zealand waters.
‘Banners on the Beach’ activities attracted well over 2000 people to over 20 beaches from Golden Bay to Bluff. Estimates for the biggest crowds were Dunedin (600) Christchurch (500) and Kaikoura (350).
Last year thousands also protested in dozens of locations on North Island beaches as Texan oil giant Anadarko was preparing to drill off the coast of Raglan.
Today’s event follows recent protests at sea by Otago, Kaikoura and Wellington community groups opposing deep sea oil as Anadarko starts exploratory drilling work off Otago and continues seismic surveying in the Pegasus Basin near Kaikoura and Wellington.
Residents of Kaikoura, known for its whale watch tourism, say they are defending their livelihoods from the acoustic booms that are known to distress whales and dolphins and from an oil spill that could devastate their community.
Otago community leaders, who last weekend sailed out and radioed opposition to the captain of the Anadarko drillship Noble Bob Douglas, say the urgent need for action on climate change means the reckless search for oil and gas must stop.
Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Steve Abel says today’s turnout has again sent a strong message to the government and oil industry.
“Over 2000 people and families that have joined in today show that Kiwis don’t want deep sea drilling off our coasts. That’s not the future we want for New Zealand.
“We don’t want to see dozens of oil rigs dotted off our coastlines – that is the awful vision of John Key and Anadarko. We want jobs for New Zealanders that don’t ruin our fishing grounds or risk oil washing on our beaches.
“It’s about defending the way people put food on the table in New Zealand now and not selling out our kids’ future to foreign oil companies. We belong as part of the solution – sticking true to our clean green values and innovating a way forward – not as another oily backwater run for the benefit of US drillers.”
Banners on the Beach is organised by a coalition of local oil free groups and Greenpeace.
For more info:
Steve Abel, Greenpeace NZ Energy Campaigner, 027 556 5175