Protesters slam 'corrupt' oil industry

By Christine McKay

Richard Green is a former oil industry employee. Now the Ngapaeruru Rd lifestyle block owner is marching in protest against oil exploration in our district.

Mr Green was one of about 60 people who marched through the streets of Dannevirke on Wednesday, chanting and shouting, before making a stand outside the Tararua District Council chambers.

Mr Green said he's angry his rates went up $500 last year - a rise he believes will go towards roading to cater for the oil industry.

"For this council to raise rates that much for my tiny little lifestyle block is outrageous. As former oil company worker in London, I believe the industry is corrupt. Their decisions as to what happens here in Dannevirke have been made in secret meetings with councillors," he said. "But I just hope people realise the horrible problems our environment is going to suffer as a result. The oil companies are dictating what will happen."

Nathan Reed, 16, was taking part in his first protest rally and told the Dannevirke News he keeps himself informed on the issues.

"I'm off a farm, so I know what fracking will do to our water and our environment," he said. "Farming is the main business in Dannevirke and if fracking pollutes our water, then what?"

However, while the protesters made their way through the streets, not everyone was supportive.

"They're just people with nothing better to do," one bystander, who didn't want to be named, said.

Another pedestrian called out, "I'm supporting the frackers. Now frack off."

Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis offered an olive branch to the protesters.

"We are interested in what you've got to say. There will be an opportunity next month to meet with council and for your views to be heard," he said.

Protesters almost drowned out Mr Ellis, screaming, "that will be something new".

- Hawkes Bay Today

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