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A drill rig commissioned by oil giant OMV has arrived in New Zealand, a little over a year after the Government issued a ban on new oil and gas exploration permits.

Greenpeace climate campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says the arrival of the OMV-contracted drill rig contradicts Jacinda Ardern’s declaration that climate change is her generation’s nuclear free moment.

“This OMV rig is a 34,000 tonne embarrassment. It’s come from Norway – literally the other side of the world – to search for new oil and gas during a climate emergency. I imagine the phrase on many people’s lips right now is probably WTF,” she says.

New Zealand received global praise last year when it became one of the first countries to ban new oil and gas exploration permits in response to the growing threat of the climate crisis.

However, permits awarded before the ban were excluded and companies could still search for new oil and gas for decades.

OMV holds the majority of these permits and plans to drill 12 new wells off the coast of Taranaki, and a further 10 wells in the Great South Basin later this summer.

Today Greenpeace released the first footage of the rugby field sized rig as it arrived, self-propelled, into New Zealand waters.

Larsson says OMV can expect widespread resistance.

“We’re living through a climate emergency, and people around the world are standing up to the governments and companies that haven’t done enough to respond to this threat,” she says.

“We’re seeing millions of students around the world going on strike from school for the climate, and people everywhere taking part in peaceful protests.

“New Zealand has been one of the countries at the forefront of this escalating climate movement. I think it’s safe to say we can expect more of the same here if fossil fuel companies like OMV insist on searching for more oil and gas that we can’t burn.”

The arrival of OMV’s drill rig in New Zealand comes as an occupation by Greenpeace UK of a BP oil rig in Scotland enters its third day.

Greenpeace UK have been served with an injunction as a result. Rig workers attempted to lower the injunction via a bucket and rope to two activists who remain camped on the rig.

Greenpeace UK has vowed to continue with the occupation, despite the legal action.

ENDS