Two Greenpeace campaigners are attempting to scale Wellington's tallest building this morning in a protest against big oil.

Activists Abigail Smith and Nick Hanafin began climbing the Majestic Centre at dawn, Greenpeace said in a statement. They were attempting to reach the headquarters of Austrian oil giant OMV.

Police were called about 7.30am to a report of people climbing a building on Willis St, a spokeswoman said.

As of 8.20am police were speaking to the two people involved, who were refusing to climb down, she said.


Officers were assessing whether cordons or other measures needed to be put in place.

Greenpeace said the climb to the 20th floor was expected to take all day. If the pair reached the headquarters they would deliver a message and would be deploying banners along the way.

Abigail Smith and Nick Hanafin began scaling the Majestic Centre at dawn. Photo / Greenpeace
Abigail Smith and Nick Hanafin began scaling the Majestic Centre at dawn. Photo / Greenpeace

OMV was the last remaining international oil giant operating in New Zealand after Chevron and Equinor (formerly Statoil) departed this month Greenpeace said.

A self-propelled drill rig, which will be used by OMV to drill exploratory wells off the Taranaki Coast and in the Great South Basin, had just arrived in the country, Greenpeace said.

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"Oil companies like OMV have known for 30 years that burning fossil fuels is driving climate change. Instead of acting, the industry has poured billions of dollars into climate change denial and lobbying while continuing to push ever deeper into remote ends of the Earth in search of new oil and gas."

Last April Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits. But this did not extend to exploration permits issued before the ban.

This morning Ardern said she did not endorse the action and hoped the people were safe.


She said she had not seen why the building was being climbed, but added that the Government was transitioning the economy away from fossil fuels.