John Wathen is an award winning photojournalist who recently toured Aotearoa recounting his experience both on the ground and in the air documenting the catastrophic 2011 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

John flew out over the gulf in a light plane and captured the event as it was unfolding resulting in some amazing footage and images of the worst environmental disaster in American history.

This video shows the most important parts of John’s presentation:

During John’s tour of the country he visited schools spoke at community meetings and Marae and engaged with local business leaders where he spoke passionately about the ongoing effects the oil spill  is having on the environment and the peoples of the region including the collapse of the local fisheries and other wildlife and the continuing health problems affecting the local people in the Gulf states.

Johns assessment of the Gulf spill was that notwithstanding the economic and political might of the USA, they totally failed to contain the oil spill before it had decimated the coastline and that the oil industry had exerted enormous pressure upon the American government and local communities to hide the true extent of the disaster and reduce its responsibility.

There are an increasing number of disturbing similarities between the catastrophe in the Gulf  and what is being planned here including:

– Anadarko the company planning to sink the first deepwater well this summer were partners with BP in the Gulf of Mexico failure.

– Hyundai Heavy Industries, the company building Anadarko’s new drill ship is the same company that built the failed rig in the Gulf.

– The New Zealand government does not have an adequate oil spill response plan.

– The failed well in the Gulf was an exploration well.

The only way to prevent the devastation caused by a deep water oil spill is to ban all deep water drilling in our waters.

And if the political will does not exist to do this … we must create it.

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