Jamie Morton

Jamie Morton is science reporter at the NZ Herald.

Protesters join forces on drilling

Te Whanau a Apanui rununga chairwoman Adelaide Waititi was at court supporting Elvis Teddy. Photo/ Alan Gibson
Te Whanau a Apanui rununga chairwoman Adelaide Waititi was at court supporting Elvis Teddy. Photo/ Alan Gibson

Elvis Teddy appeared in the Tauranga District Court charged with operating his ship in a manner that caused unnecessary risk to another vessel and resisting arrest.

Protesters will today make a fresh push to persuade the Government to abandon its fossil fuels agenda with the delivery of a petition carrying more than 140,000 signatures.

It comes after a rally was staged yesterday to support a boat skipper in court for allegedly harassing a Petrobras oil-drilling survey vessel off the East Cape last year.

Those converging at Parliament this afternoon will be joined by members of Oil-Free Otago, who will separately hand over a 2000-strong petition against plans by Texan oil giant Anadarko's to begin deep sea drilling off the Otago and Canterbury coasts.

Greenpeace New Zealand spokesman Simon Boxer said tens of thousands of New Zealanders had given a "definite no" to deep sea oil and to expansion of the coal industry.

His group has hit out at the Government's Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill, arguing it would fail to stop an oil spill or climate change.

The bill, which had its second reading last Wednesday, establishes an environmental management regime for New Zealand's vast but currently unregulated Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which lies between 12 and 200 nautical miles off the coast.

Parliament's local government and environment committee was last month unable to agree that the bill should be passed, with Labour, the Greens, and NZ First all saying it lacked sufficient environmental protections and was not consistent with New Zealand's international treaty obligations.

Greenpeace has also joined East Coast iwi Te Whanau a Apanui in appealing an early decision not to revoke the permit given to Petrobras to explore for oil in the deep water off the East Cape.

The two groups are arguing the potential effects of a major oil spill were not considered by the Government before it granted the permit and that Te Whanau a Apanui was not adequately consulted when it was granted.

The groups united outside Tauranga District Court yesterday to support Opotiki fisherman Elvis Teddy, who was arrested on April 23, 2011, for allegedly operating his ship in a manner that caused unnecessary risk to Petrobras' Orient Explorer by breaching the exclusion zone around it.

He is also charged with resisting arrest.

- NZ Herald

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