The New Zealand Government is pleased to announce that next year they’re keen to open more than 500,000 square kilometres of our ocean for oil companies to survey and drill, including parts of the marine mammal sanctuary, home to the world’s most endangered dolphin, the Māui.
What utter blockheads.
We live in a time when the changing climate means widespread devastation is looming. In our lifetime, we’re going to see mass extinction, sea level rise, threatened food and water security, and an influx of climate refugees.
Many countries around the world are desperately working together to action plans that cut our dirty fossil fuel emissions before it’s too late.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, our Prime Minister and his government are doing worse than nothing – they’re sitting back, twiddling their thumbs, saying: “Sweet as bro, she’ll be right!”
Yesterday, Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges kicked off the Block Offer 2017 process for awarding oil and gas exploration permits by releasing a map of the simply gigantic areas of New Zealand the Government is proposing to lend to the fossil fuel industry to do their worst on.
What will happen from here is:
- Consultation with iwi on these Block Offers begins now
- Consultation with local authorities begins on October 17
- The consultation period for Block Offer 2017 ends on 18 November
- The Government will go away and “consider” all submissions
- The final block offer areas will be announced in March 2017 and oil companies will tender for access to them.
The diamond in the rough is the fact that consultation with local councils doesn’t begin for a few weeks yet – after Local Body Election results are announced. This gives New Zealanders around the country the opportunity to pressure their local candidates to commit to opposing the block offer proposal in the lead-up to the election, before they even get their feet under the desks.
We can’t make personal submissions on the block offer or during any other part of the permit process, so we need to get our local leaders to act for us. Ask your candidates the hard questions about their policies on oil exploration. Wherever we can, we must get them on the record opposing it, and advocating for a safer climate for us all.
People power has worked in the past and it will work again.
Let’s take a look back at how far the #StopDeepSeaOil movement has come in just a year.
- In September/October 2015 there were 20 ‘Block The Offer‘ campaigns throughout the country, all engaging local communities. Some of them, like Gisborne, Kaikoura and Christchurch, were very successful!
- In the December 2015 announcements of new oil permits there were no new deep sea oil permits. Zero. Zilch. This is a great indicator that the Government’s push for new oil is failing.
- The Community Flotilla for Climate Justice, organised by Oil Free Wellington, saw hundreds of people mobilised in Wellington and preparing to take action against oil exploration.
- In March of this year, several hundred people blockaded the doors of the oil industry’s annual conference, delaying it, and demonstrating huge public opposition.
- Earlier this month, two large oil industry players, TGS and ION, both withdrew their prospecting permit applications before they were even approved.
- Rumours abound that one of New Zealand’s largest and oldest oil companies, Shell, is getting ready to completely pull the plug from its activities here.
We are winning, but we need to keep the pressure on.
The global scientific consensus is dead clear: If we are to have a future, all fossil fuels must be kept in the ground.
Now someone just needs to go tell the blockheads running the Beehive that.