A climber opposed to deep-sea oil drilling scaled an inner-city building in Wellington this morning to unfurl a banner outside a Norwegian oil firm's local headquarters.
Oil Free Wellington's Jessie Dennis said the group dropped the banner to show opposition to deep-sea oil drilling, which they said was detrimental to New Zealand's's marine life and coastal environments.
"Deep-sea oil drilling is simply not worth the risk," Ms Dennis said.
She said the group believed New Zealand should be less dependent on fossil fuels and also launched the action in solidarity with the anti-drilling hikoi.
Hundreds of anti-oil drilling protesters gathered in Auckland yesterday following a hikoi from Cape Reinga.
Ms Dennis said an experienced climber with climbing gear safely scaled the building and dropped the banner by about 10am. Ms Dennis predicted more acts of "civil disobedience" and said people opposed to drilling would be willing to risk arrest. "I think people will be willing to make sacrifices to defend our homes."
Norway's Statoil wants to start exploring for oil off Northland's coast this summer.
The banner was dropped at Vodafone on the Quay, beside Midland Park, which houses a Statoil office. Building managers were approached for comment but refused.
Workers from Goleman, a specialist building maintenance and high-rise cleaning company, removed the banner at 11.30am.
Ms Dennis expected the banner would be confiscated. She said the group had spoken to police and no one was arrested.
Earlier today, Greenpeace protesters disrupted a petroleum conference being held in Auckland this morning, bursting into a room while Energy Minister Simon Bridges was speaking.
About half a dozen women breached tight security and lobbed high pitched noise emitting devices under the seats. They were then bundled out of the room by a team of security staff and unfurled banners disputing Statoil's exploration programme in Northland.
The women were dressed in business suits and had apparently fake identification and conference credentials to get into the room. Bridges said he was not disturbed by the protest, but acknowledged their right to express their views.
He said the overseas explorers at the conference were unlikely to be deterred by the action today.
The New Zealand Petroleum Summit is being hosted at Sky City from today and Bridges ministerial address was scheduled to have started at 8.45am.
Spending on the hunt for oil and gas is currently running around record levels and approaching its summer peak as the Government promises a business-as-usual approach.
Mr Bridges said last week the next three years was about certainty after a "bumpy period". "We've had the regulatory changes ... now we're seeing world-class players come in. Over the next three years it's certainty and you're not going to see significant policy changes and bells and whistles from the Government." The Government put in place new environmental, health and safety rules as well as a new fiscal regime. New laws also prevented protest vessels from being within 500m of survey ships.
More than 400 industry representatives are at the meeting.
"We'd come through a bumpy period but there's a broad acceptance from most New Zealanders who understand and want petroleum exploration provided it's done to world-class standards with health and safety and environmental protection," Mr Bridges said last week.