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Action against oil drilling intensifies


Get oil exploration out of our waters! That was the message chorused by 600 plus people who converged on normally quiet Whangaparaoa Bay on the Eastcape on Saturday the 2nd of April.

Lining the roadsides for 60kms in any direction from Whangaparaoa Bay that morning were hundreds of signs echoing this cry.

Outraged by the government's decision to allow Brazilian oil giant, Petrobras, rights to deep sea drill off their coast, locals, including iwi Te Whanau a Apanui, were joined by a large sea-bound flotilla of groups such as Greenpeace, Nuclear Free flotilla, Forest and Bird and the climate action group, 350 Aotearoa, as well as other supporters who traveled from all over New Zealand via land to voice their concerns.

“We need to stand up and say what is being risked if deep sea oil drilling goes ahead”, urged Rawiri Waititi, from Te Whanau a Apanui. “Our primary life source is the sea here in Te Whanau a Apanui. Fisheries, coastal farming, the migratory path of the sperm whale, which comes right through this area, will all be affected and thats regardless of whether there is a disaster or not”. He referred to the fact that the drilling process will still release oil into the ocean even in the best case scenario.


Steve Abel, spokesperson for Greenpeace, went on to talk about the grave outcomes that could be involved if a major oil spill did occur, a very real possibility given the extreme ocean depths Petrobras is wanting to drill in and that that part of the coast has experienced numerous earthquakes of at least 6 on the Richter scale in the last 15 years.  “The oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon rig that occurred recently in the Gulf of Mexico caused an unprecedented amount of ecological destruction and the clean-up has cost billions. The effect that something like this would have on New Zealand would be catastrophic.'

In response to questions about the the country's proposed financial gains from oil exploration as asserted by the government, Abel stated, “Actually there will be huge negative economic effects. Tourism, our biggest export, which relies on our clean-green image will be hit hard. We also have a reputation as being innovators and not followers, as would be the case if we made ourselves a part of the last of the fossil fuel industry.”

Both MP Hone Harawira and Greenpeace's director Bunny McDiarmid took to the stage under a bright East Coast sun and warned that the government would try to dangle financial carrots in front of the coastal people of that area and also make the rest of the country feel like they would receive great financial returns from the drilling.

They were referring to the income the government is quick to talk about when challenged about Petrobras' proposed drilling ($600 million plus that the crown earns a year in royalties and tax from energy and oil/gas ventures around NZ). However Mr Waititi forwarded that Petrobras would only add a very small sum on top of that, between 4-6% of what the company will make from the drilling. In contrast, New Zealand's tourism industry contributes $18.6 billion to our economy each year, an income stream, most at Whangaparaoa Bay that day, thought not worth risking.

It was also noted that the government's Minister of Economic development, Gerry Brownlee's promises that drilling will bring more jobs for New Zealanders have been widely refuted with opponents saying the industry more often brings in its own staff, quoting The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand who admit that highly-trained positions are the norm in oil industry operations.

Mirroring comments from The Green Party recently who called for a ban on all new oil permits until “proper [] public consultation processes are in place.” There were a few other questions being asked that afternoon concerning the lack of consultation the public had had over the governments decision to put oil fields up for tender;

- Why did the National government not ask the people of NZ (eg- through a referendum) whether they wanted to allow oil drilling to occur off the East Cape?

- Why, when they did sell the rights to Petrobras, did they not widely publicise the fact? Did they expect the backlash?

- Did the Labour governments granting of seven exploration permits, in 2006, to find new oil and gas reserves off-shore have anything to do with the creation of the Seabed and Foreshore Bill a little over a year earlier?

- Why have issues relating to sovereignty rights and customary title through the Waitangi Tribunal and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples been blatantly side-stepped in this process by the government? Something highlighted by Gerry Brownlee being “forced to apologise” for failing to consult Te Whanau a Apanui and Ngati Porou before awarding a permit to Petrobras to drill for oil.

By days end on the Saturday a few strategies had been formulated by local Maori and the visiting groups and over the last few days at least one of these have been realised in the ocean off the east cape with part of the anti-drilling flotilla sailing out to meet one of Petrobras' seismic testing ships, already gathering research off the coast. They established radio contact asked the Captain to cease operations.

According to reports they peacefully, but directly, placed themselves in the path of the seismic testing vessel to prevent deep sea oil exploration continuing and at 2pm Sunday, April the 10th, Petrobras' vessel stated to media that they had halted their operations.



Cool ...

Way cool - wish I was there.  The "save the foreshore" crowd could do with some of this kind of energy. 

But beyond meetings, beyond the speeches, what happens when the government ignores you, as they shall?

Our government governs on behalf of the corporations that pay them bribes. Surely we all know this by now.

Let us not just slide back home sullenly and tell our children we tried our best.

Far better to risk imprisionment for active civil disobedience, IMHO.  The alternative is acts of violence.  So lets keep it cool, but get the job done.  Draw our line in the sand, and when it is crossed (as it shall be crossed) then we must push and shove until every last pervert is purged from our parliament.

Now, me and a few of the brothers are already getting ready.  In your own way, in your own time (don't be tardy) you should to.

Send a message.  No means no.  We're not asking, please.


I TAUTOKO this kaupapa

no means no more raping of our seas!!

assets ,country,people


whakahokia te whenua tu tonu I

I seem to be having probs getting into the petrobras website, can someone help?

Not your fault: here's the output I got when I tried to connect

  Server Error in '/ri' Application. Object reference not set to an instance of an object.Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

Source Error:

An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.

Stack Trace:

[NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.] SI.clShow.carrega() in C:\Portais\Petrobras\App_Code\clShow.cs:186 Petrobras.Show.carregaDados() in C:\Portais\Petrobras\Show.aspx.cs:46 Petrobras.Show.Page_Load(Object sender, EventArgs e) in C:\Portais\Petrobras\Show.aspx.cs:19 System.Web.Util.CalliHelper.EventArgFunctionCaller(IntPtr fp, Object o, Object t, EventArgs e) +14 System.Web.Util.CalliEventHandlerDelegateProxy.Callback(Object sender, EventArgs e) +35 System.Web.UI.Control.OnLoad(EventArgs e) +99 System.Web.UI.Control.LoadRecursive() +50 System.Web.UI.Page.ProcessRequestMain(Boolean includeStagesBeforeAsyncPoint, Boolean includeStagesAfterAsyncPoint) +627

Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:2.0.50727.3603; ASP.NET Version:2.0.50727.3082

For some reason that link for

For some reason that link for petrobras is not working via this site ,just google petrobras and the website comes up !


"hey gerry how about i drill your mother" has to be one of the better posters i've seen in a while.

I just read about whale

I just read about whale strandings in the gulf of mexico in the past when scientists backed by oil explorers were bombarding the sea with 260 dB blasts from a ship for research purposes.  is this what these oil explorers in our waters are doing?

I heard an interview with a

I heard an interview with a greenpeace activist in the flotilla who said the gulf of mexico spill involved an oil rig that was drilling 1500 metres I think he said from memory and that the depths in Aotearoa would be twice that!

Re-tool the Entire Industrial Revolution.

Coal, gas, oil and atomic energy is destroying the planets livability and therefore the last forty-seven years of ecological green organic revolution has brought into being the hi-low tech to put in place wind, tidal, and solar power which translates to electricity and is more power than can be used by society.  No more blackouts.  This non-pollution solution is given freely in natures laws and provides work for all and forever more.  Viva socialist liberation.  End pollution wars, not endless wars for more and more pollution.