Action Against Oil Exploration Expansion in New Zealand
Greenpeace volunteers covered in 'oil', at Muriwai beach' send a strong message to the Government to stop its plans for the drilling of new deep water oil wells off New Zealand's coast.
The group braved the wintery conditions at Muriwai Beach, west
of Auckland, to strip off and cover themselves in a cold and
unsightly mixture of mainly molasses and water.
Other oil-covered bodies moved amongst onlookers, collecting
signatures against the drilling plans.
The event was held at Muriwai to highlight the fact that Energy
and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee is intending to announce the
awarding of further petroleum exploration permits by the end of
August for oil in the Reinga and Northland coastal zones - which
together cover 150,000 square kilometres, an area bigger than the
whole of the North Island (1). The expected awarding of further
permits to international oil companies is part of a dramatic
escalation in planned deep sea oil drilling by the Government. In
June this year the Brazilian owned Petrobras oil company was
awarded an exploration permit off the East Cape.
"As the ongoing BP Gulf oil disaster demonstrates, deepwater oil
drilling is inherently dangerous and accidents can have devastating
effects on the marine environment, with huge economic consequences
for the tourism and fishing industries. Not to mention the fact
that burning oil fuels climate change," says Carmen Gravatt,
Greenpeace New Zealand Campaign Director.
"Gerry Brownlee has obviously not learnt from the Government's
recent Schedule-4 fiasco. New Zealanders have told the Government
that they do not want this country's valuable 'clean and green'
reputation and way of life compromised for a short-term gain by
international oil companies.
"A disaster on the scale of what is happening in the Gulf would
bring New Zealand to its knees, and yet the Government is eyeing up
drilling sites where the water is double the depth of the water at
the site of the Gulf BP disaster," Gravatt says.
The Government's oil drilling plans come at a time when many
other countries are turning away from fossil fuels in response to
the climate change crisis, and investing in a Cleantech Revolution
of efficiency and renewable energy technologies. In 2008, the
global investment in green energy eclipsed that of fossil fuels,
attracting US$140bn compared with US$110bn for gas, coal and
"New Zealand's competitors are spending billions in order to
become part of the Cleantech Revolution. We will miss out if this
Government continues to think in 19th century economic terms," says
"Clean technology represents a huge economic opportunity that
New Zealand simply can't afford to miss - a chance to achieve the
sort of sustainable growth and a knowledge-led economy that will be
the pillar of the 21st century green revolution. What we need from
John Key's Government is a clear commitment to investing in clean
technologies," she says.
Fifteen thousand people have signed Greenpeace's online petition
against any new offshore oil wells, and any expansion of coal
mining operations, since the petition was launched four weeks
Meanwhile, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is currently en
route to the Gulf of Mexico to investigate and documents the
effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Photos on Flickr
Other contacts: Carmen Gravatt, Greenpeace New Zealand Campaigns Director, 021 302 251.
Jay Harkness, Greenpeace New Zealand Communications and Media Officer, 021 495 216.
VVPR info: Photos available from http://photo.greenpeace.org/GPI...
Notes: (1) http://www.crownminerals.govt.nz/cms/petroleum/blocks-offers/northland-blocks-offer and http://www.crownminerals.govt.nz/cms/petroleum/blocks-offers/reinga-block-offer
Exp. contact date: 2010-08-25 00:00:00