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Crown case over deep sea oil opposition kicked out — Te Whanau a Apanui relieved and want answers

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Tauranga, Thursday 26 July 2012: Te Whanau a Apanui are relieved after a Judge threw out charges today against iwi member Elvis Teddy who skippered the tribe’s fishing boat to send a message to Petrobras’ oil survey ship that they were not welcome in their customary waters.

At the heart of this judgement is the thorn of jurisdiction. The Crown has assumed they have power in areas never given up by Te Whanau a Apanui nor other iwi.

Elvis Teddy said, “We know the nature of our customary authority at sea. The Crown clearly don’t know the nature of theirs. They were arrogant enough to assume, even though their own law was lacking, that they could just bully us without legal right. They used the Navy, the military, all their Police resources and Crown Law to bully us for their big oil friends, but they were found wanting by their own law. It shows tiny iwi and indigenous people can take a stand, and can hold the Government to account. I hope Petrobras and the Government have got the message by now that we don’t want deep sea oil drilling in the Raukumara Basin.”

The iwi want answers from the Government after the ruling stated that the Government had no jurisdiction to board the fishing boat nor arrest the skipper.

“Elvis Teddy was defending our tribal waters from the great threat of deep sea oil exploration and drilling. Ideally we would like to see the Government have the integrity to do the same. It looks like the Navy and Police were being used as private security for Petrobras. We want answers from the Government as to why,” says Rikirangi Gage, the Chief Executive of Te Whanau a Apanui’s Runanga.

Dayle Takitimu, legal representative for Te Whanau a Apanui said today “New laws relating to the seabed and foreshore and the EEZ Bill currently going through Parliament have been invented in the past decade to create ownership for the Government. Why? Because as soon as Government ownership is established, they immediately issue prospecting and exploration permits for fossil fuels, sand and minerals.”

“The contemporary seabed grab by the Government is driven by corporate interest, not by justice, not by recognising our founding documents, nor for care of the ocean. In the case of the Raukumara Basin the Government had signed exploration permits with Petrobras before they had even created legislation to steal the sea bed between 12 and 200 nautical miles.”

Te Whanau a Apanui continue to have, and exercise responsibilities, their customary authority, or mana moana over the Raukumara Basin.

“Deep sea oil exploration and drilling threatens one of the greatest resources that we have all inherited and must pass on to the next generation in better condition that we found it; we will, now and forever, stand up against Government recklessness if it threatens that environment, and the livelihood of future generations”, she says.

Comments

woohoo! Kia mau te wehi. Kia

woohoo! Kia mau te wehi. Kia kaha tonu e te Whanau-a-Apanui. Mean :)