Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Surf champ submits anti-drilling oil exploration bid

Surfing champ, Mischa Davis, Fi Gibson of Oil Free Wellington and Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes outside Mbie this afternoon with their oil exploration bid.
Surfing champ, Mischa Davis, Fi Gibson of Oil Free Wellington and Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes outside Mbie this afternoon with their oil exploration bid.

New Zealand surf champ Mischa Davis hand-delivered an oil exploration bid to the Minister of Business Innovation and Employment in Wellington today despite her opposition to drilling.

Davis was supporting the Green Party's "Kiwi Bid" submitted to draw attention to the 2013 block offer under which the Government will grant permits for drilling and other exploratory activities for 189,000 square kilometres of ocean, much of it in deep water.

The Green Party bid, signed by 14,000 people, "asks the Government to leave these areas free of risky deep sea drilling in order to protect the New Zealand coastline from a catastrophic oil spill", Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes said.

Piha local Davis, 24, told Green Party supporters she was concerned about Texan company Anadarko's plan to begin exploratory drilling shortly off the North Island's West Coast.

"If there is a spill then it's going to directly hit my home."

Davis is currently studying towards becoming an environmental lawyer and told the Herald she had joined the Green's campaign because "I'm passionate about the issue and I'm passionate about my home and I feel it's my duty."

She was unconcerned the bid would be dismissed.

"It's definitely bringing awareness to the issue and making a statement to the Government."

Mr Hughes said when the Government was looking through the stack of bids from oil companies "they will find ours, backed by over 14,000 New Zealanders".

"It will make sure that the Government knows that New Zealanders want to protect our waters, not give them away to oil companies."

Mr Hughes said opponents of deep sea drilling had been forced to become creative to voice their concerns, "because the Government has, at nearly every turn, shut the public out from having say on this risky activity".

"The Government did not consult the majority of New Zealanders on its Block Offer 2012 nor its Block Offer 2013, and has just announced it won't for Block Offer 2014 either.

"Furthermore, the Government recently announced plans to strip away New Zealanders' rights to oppose applications for marine consents for exploratory deep sea drilling."

- NZ Herald

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