Auckland Council has just voted to oppose the Government’s offshore oil agenda in New Zealand, for the first time ever.
The vote this morning saw 14 councillors including, new Mayor Phil Goff, pass an amendment to oppose oil prospecting, exploration and drilling in New Zealand, while only 7 voted in support of it.
Greenpeace campaigner, Steve Abel, who spoke at the meeting, says the win is historic and decisive, and sends a clear signal that the John Key Government’s oil agenda is not supported.
“This is a massive result. It means two of the biggest councils in the country have now come out in strong defiance of the Government’s climate-destroying policy of searching for the oil we can’t burn if we are to have a future for our children,” he says.
“If the Government does not pay attention to this it would be an insult to democracy, it would expose the consultation as a sham, and it would be straight up climate denial.”
Last week, Christchurch City Council opposed oil drilling, with only one dissenting vote in favour of it.
And in 2015, Kaikoura, Dunedin and Gisborne Councils also voted to oppose offshore oil activity.
Abel says Auckland’s new Mayor Phil Goff should be congratulated.
“Last year, Mayor Len Brown let us down, with his vote being the decisive vote in Auckland Council not opposing oil drilling,” he says.
“Today the new Auckland Council has taken this opportunity to define itself as serious about taking climate action. And Mayor Goff stood with the growing swell of New Zealanders who see that a continued search for oil that we can’t afford to burn is craziness given the climate emergency we face.”
Auckland Council’s vote to oppose oil drilling in New Zealand will now be submitted to Central Government to consider for the 2017 Block Offer process, which decides which tracts of New Zealand ocean will be opened up to oil companies.