The five Greenpeace activists who stormed on board a New Zealand Government climate research ship that was found to be searching for oil have been discharged – and will receive no punishment – after being convicted at the Auckland District Court today.
The five were convicted of being unlawfully on a vessel.
Last November Siana Fitzjohn, Kailas Wild, Adrian Sanders, Genevieve Toop and Niamh O’Flynn locked themselves on board the NIWA taxpayer-funded climate and ocean research boat, Tangaroa, which had been chartered by petroleum giant Chevron to survey for oil in New Zealand waters.
After two initial arrests, three of the Greenpeace group managed to remain up the gantry of the boat for more than 10 hours, and used social media to connect with people around the country. They also unfurled a sail-shaped banner, reading: “Climb it Change”.
The Tangaroa had been preparing to leave Wellington Harbour, where it had made a pit stop, to continue oil exploration.
Its oil and gas capabilities come from a $24 million taxpayer-funded refit it was given in 2010.
Activist Siana Fitzjohn says she locked herself to the boat to highlight the Government’s “absolutely dishonest” agenda.
“The Tangaroa should be conducting science in the public’s interest, not serving the agenda of the oil industries that are destroying our climate,” she says. “It is sadly ironic that this vessel is enabling oil companies to threaten our ocean, when ‘Tangaroa’ means ‘God of the Sea’.”
“While John Key assured the world at the Paris Climate Conference that we would take real action on climate change, he continues to push a deep sea oil agenda that endangers our communities. Further exploration for fossil fuels should be seen as an act of violence against humanity.”