'Frack free' Hastings plea

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Anti-fracking lobbyists are calling for Hastings to be declared a "frack free" district but it is unlikely the move would hold any legal authority to stop oil and gas exploration in Hawke's Bay.

On day one of the Hastings District Council's long-term plan hearing about 12 people delivered their submissions on the fracking issue in person to councillors.

A majority asked for the council to place a moratorium on fracking until the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report on the controversial oil and gas exploration method was completed this year.

Submitter Angela Hair asked for a public regional review of fracking to allow people to voice concerns, "and formally decide if this is an activity we choose to accept in our community".

Submitters wanted the Hastings council to lead public debate on the pros and cons of fracking, as well as oil and gas exploration.

Others said Christchurch had declared its city a frack-free district and urged Hastings to follow suite.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said the Christchurch stance was probably a decision "made in principal" but doubted it had "anything legal to be effective".

While Hastings has not been flagged as an area of interest to the oil companies, submitter Pauline Elliott said companies had a permit from the government to explore "the whole of the region", and people were worried future exploration would creep into Hastings' boundaries.

US companies Tag Oil and Apache have yet to hand in an application for exploration in Porangahau in Hawke's Bay.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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