Offshore oil – another bad joke from Government

Press release - June 1, 2010
In the midst of one of the worst oil spills in history the Government’s offshore oil exploration announcement sounds like a bad joke, says Greenpeace.

But unbelievably - like mining plans - the Government does actually think drilling for oil and digging up coal in the 21st century is a good idea. 

Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner Simon Boxer said  burning oil had a serious effect on climate change and the risks from drilling - such as the ongoing Gulf of Mexico oil disaster - highlighted how our dependency on fossil fuels damaged people, economies and the environment.

Despite feeble assurances from the John Key, in the Herald today, offshore drilling is not safe. The BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico shows that it is extremely difficult to control activities in the deep sea," he said.

If the president of the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world can't stop an offshore oil spill then how is John Key going to?

The Government has awarded the drilling contract to Petrobras that has a shocking safety and environmental record as its oil rig disaster of 2001 demonstrates." (1)

We only have to imagine a Louisiana-style oil spill along New Zealand's coastline and the spectacular East Cape to understand what is at stake here. Significant fisheries, fragile coastal ecology and birdlife, a tourism hotspot and New Zealand's clean, green reputation will be put at risk.

One gulf of Mexico type oil disaster in New Zealand could cause permanent ecological harm and cost the economy billions.

This is not the right direction for New Zealand. These sorts of extractive 19th Century industries like coal mining and oil drilling are boom and bust economics - they earn money for a few international corporations and leave a big mess for the rest of us.  The cost benefit equation just doesn't stack up."

Boxer said that in the era of climate change New Zealand should be investing in clean technologies not regressing to 19th century extractive industry of dirty old oil and coal.

For more information

Simon Boxer, Greenpeace NZ

Senior climate campaigner, 021 905 579

Suzette Jackson, Greenpeace

Communications manager, 021 614 899

(1) Petrobras's floating oil platform sinks. The biggest platform in the world http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/ americas/1233083.stm