Protest against fracking and deep sea oil drilling

By Kate Shuttleworth

Protestors in Wellington today. Photo / Adam Bennett
Protestors in Wellington today. Photo / Adam Bennett

Up to 100 people representing communities from across the country gathered in Wellington today to protest against the impact of fracking and deep sea oil drilling.

People from east coast iwi Apanui, the Green Party and Greenpeace gathered outside the Ministry of Economic Development and moved to the Brazilian embassy and Straterra _ an industry group representing the New Zealand resource sector.

The protest comes off the back of the 'Aotearoa is not for sale,' hikoi that arrived at parliament grounds on Friday.

Outside the Ministry of Economic Development, placards read: 'TAG oil, frack off', 'Get the frack out of here National', and 'Clean water, clean food, clean air'.

Spokesman Dean Baigent-Mercer said the group was concerned about the role the ministry, Straterra and Brazil played in fracking and deep sea oil drilling.

"It is lobbying for the greatest ease of access to our public mineral and fossil fuel resources and is happy to bulldoze public opinion on these issues.''

He said Ministry of Economic Development staff had been increased by 50 positions to facilitate multi-national companies to access minerals, oil and to frack for gas.

'All have extremely negative toxic environmental impacts and will economically benefit overseas corporations to the detriment of our own country.''

He claimed the Brazil helped broker the deal for Petrobras to search for oil in the deep sea of the Raukumara Basin off East Cape.

"In 15 years time we may be left with an impoverished country with resources removed and toxic waste left behind if we don't act now to stop current government and corporate plans.''

Bridgette Henare had travelled from Moerewa in the Far North to Parliament oppose asset sales but was protesting today because she feared deep shore drilling and fracking would reach her area.

"It's been so uplifting but hard at the same time - we have a lot of people from different countries represented on the hikoi,'' she said.

"I am worried fracking will destroy our gardens - we live off watercress and tuna locally and this could be destroyed by fracking.''

Ms Henare said her father Hirini, a Vietnam war veteran, had led the hikoi as it travelled down the country.

Green Party spokesperson for the environment Catherine Delahunty told those gathered she opposed fracking and deep sea oil drilling and predicted it would be an environmental catastrophe.

The group put out a call for a nationwide moratorium on fracking until a report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment had been released later this year.

Christchurch and Kaikoura have already declared themselves 'frack-free' districts.

Protests tomorrow at Midland Park in the city will focus on climate change and coal mining.

- APNZ

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