Green hui at Marae

Kaikoura Star - - NEWS - By EMMA DANGER­FIELD

The Na­tional Government needs to be chal­lenged over do­ing busi­ness which is de­stroy­ing our own nest. That was the mes­sage coming from mem­bers of Green­peace when they vis­ited Kaik­oura for a hui at Taka­hanga Marae last Satur­day.

Green­peace ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Bunny McDiarmid said is­sues sur­round­ing water, in­ten­sive dairy­ing and deep sea oil drilling would need to be chal­lenged if New Zealand was to re­tain its clean green im­age.

Also speak­ing at the com­mu­nity meet­ing was Green­peace cli­mate cam­paigner Steve Abel and Maori ac­tivist Mike Smith. The Rain­bow War­rior was due to visit Kaik­oura on the same day, but a prob­lem with the ves­sel meant its ar­rival was de­layed.

The group spoke about cli­mate change, coastal ero­sion and the in­creased de­pen­dence on fos­sil fu­els, all of which were con­cerns for New Zealand, they said. But the main fo­cus of the korero was the fact that ten­ders for two off­shore blocks near Kaik­oura, which the com­mu­nity had tried to get with­drawn from ten­der, were awarded to oil gi­ant Anadarko.

The group said that the oil spill re­sponse in New Zealand was in­ad­e­quate, and in the case of a po­ten­tial spill from oil ex­plo­ration in deep wa­ters, the Government would need to pro­vide re­sponse teams, rather than the oil com­pa­nies. New Zealand was far worse pre­pared than the United States when it came to con­tain­ing any spill, they said, and they sug­gested re­lief rigs could be thou­sands of kilo­me­tres away from any dis­as­ter here.

While the pos­si­bil­ity of an ac­ci­dent was prob­a­bly very mi­nor, the con­se­quences would be se­vere, they said.

An­other con­cern, said Mike Smith, was that New Zealand would only get 5 per cent of the roy­al­ties from oil ex­plo­ration but 100 per cent of the risk. The lo­cal com­mu­nity would be un­likely to ben­e­fit di­rectly from oil ex­plo­ration off the Kaik­oura coast.

Steve Abel said New Zealand had sent a pow­er­ful mes­sage world­wide when it chose to go nu­clear-free, and was still trad­ing off this clean green im­age.

He ques­tioned the need for ex­tract­ing oil from be­neath the seabed, and said New Zealand ought to be lead­ing the way and look­ing at al­ter­na­tives to fos­sil fu­els in­stead.

While the

topic

of

oil ex­plo­ration has been of great in­ter­est in the Kaik­oura com­mu­nity, there are of course two sides to ev­ery story. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Anadarko and the min­is­ter of en­ergy and re­sources, Phil Heat­ley, were due to meet at Taka­hanga Marae next Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 8, from 2pm till 5pm. How­ever, due to the re­cent cab­i­net reshuf­fle, in which Mr Heat­ley lost his port­fo­lio to con­sumer af­fairs min­is­ter Simon Bridges, this will need to be re­con­firmed.

The min­istry had not done so at the time of go­ing to print, but if the meet­ing does go ahead, the com­mu­nity will be in­vited to come and lis­ten.

Photo: EMMA DANGER­FIELD

Mak­ing a stand: Te Ru­nanga o Kaik­oura and com­mu­nity mem­bers meet Green­peace ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Bunny McDiarmid, cen­tre, Green­peace cli­mate cam­paigner Steve Abel and Maori ac­tivist Mike Smith last Satur­day at Taka­hanga Marae.

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