by Catherine Delahunty
On Sunday the Green Party hosted a meeting of around 80 people about oil drilling off the West Coast of the North Island. We invited KASM (Kiwi Against Seabed Mining) , Oil Free Auckland, and Deep Sea Oil Watch Auckland to speak about their concerns about the Government and the corporates’ agenda to mine the marine environment.
Everyone at the meeting was clearly very concerned about the petroleum exploration permits off the West Coast which the Government has put up for tender. Before the tender closes in late September, community people are keen to support the Greens Kiwi Bid which is an offer seeking the right to love and protect the marine environment, rather than to drill it. Already 8,500 people have joined the Kiwi Bid.
Locals were also very keen to create more visibility about deep sea oil drilling that could take place as close as 12 nautical miles off their beach. Like many other communities they are preparing signs to inform the thousands of Aucklanders who love Muriwai Beach that oil drilling in the deep ocean is not acceptable.
The Muriwai community places high value on their environment and were horrified by the photographs we showed of last week’s oil spill affecting the island of Kot Samui in Thailand. The 50,000 litres of spilled oil came from a broken pipeline and has polluted the beaches. This spill was tiny compared to the millions of litres that contaminated the Gulf of Mexico, but after the Rena who can pretend that accidents cannot happen to us, or that we are prepared to deal with them?
It was great to meet the passionate members of the community groups who are developing information and action in Auckland region about alternatives to the hopeless Government strategy to risk our environment so that foreign companies can make a profit.
Investing in clean energy and a green transition are essential but it will take a change of Government!