Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Auckland oil conference disrupted by protest

SkyCity guests are now able to get into the building after anti-oil protestors blocked entrances this morning in an attempt to disrupt the New Zealand Petroleum Conference.

Dozens of conference delegates and hotel guests were prevented from getting into the complex early this morning by more than 100 protestors who are worried about the impact of oil drilling.

About 20 police who had been guarding doors into the hotel and conference centre left the building just after 11am. Security remains tight around the conference venue though with dozens of security staff on duty and strict electronic screening for those going to the two-day meeting.

The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand organises the gathering and its chief executive Cameron Madgwick said there was very little disruption to the conference itself.

Event organisers didn't pay for the cost of extra police but provided its own security to ensure delegates were safe .

''It's our responsibility to provide that.

''We respect their right to protest but I would hope they respect our right to hold a conference and have our conference safe and secure.''

Greenpeace's senior climate campaigner Simon Boxer said today's protest was the first time in New Zealand that Greenpeace has invited the general public to take civil disobedience action en masse.


New York City rapper Action Bronson, who performed at Auckland City Limits on Saturday, joined the protest at Sky City.

One Auckland man blocked from getting into Sky City said it was a "pain in the arse."

The man who requested anonymity said he was due to meet potential investors in this country from Australia.

"I'm out here and they're in there," he said.

Protest leader Steve Abel said he apologised to members of the public affected but not the oil industry representatives at the conference.

- NZ Herald

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