Action against deep sea drilling planned

Last updated 13:00 12/02/2014

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New Zealand could "kick ass" when it comes to green energy though we need to stop deep sea oil drilling, a local campaigner says.

Nelson-based group Clean Energy Action is encouraging Nelsonians to head to Tahuna Beach this Saturday to protest against deep sea oil drilling.

Clean Energy Action spokeswoman Verna Maeder said the group is supporting the South Island-wide event "Banners on the Beach", where participants can voice their concerns and stand in solidarity with Kaikoura and Otago. Locally, events are also being organised in Motueka and Golden Bay.

This action comes as widespread opposition to deep sea oil exploration grows through the country. Last November more than 5000 people turned out on west coast beaches of the North Island to take a stand against Anadarko drilling New Zealand's first deep sea oil well off the coast of Raglan. It was revealed last week this drilling did not produce commercially viable oil.

"New Zealand could kick ass by leading the way with green technologies, and it is quite dangerous from an economic point of view to be relying on fossil fuels," Ms Maeder said.

Anadarko is getting ready to drill a further deep sea well off the Otago coast. Also, seismic testing had been undertaken in a whale migratory area off the coast of Kaikoura. The shock waves produced were believed to harm marine mammals, which relied on sonar and sound to navigate, find food and communicate, she said.

"Standing up for our oceans and coastlines has never been more important than it is at this time in history - because there is no future in oil,' she said.

She wanted to see New Zealand build a future based on a "smart, clean economy". However, she said, allowing deep sea oil to go ahead puts that all at risk.

The action on Saturday will start with a human chain of solidarity along Tahunanui Beach, to send a visual message to Anadarko and the Government. There will also be the opportunity to take part in a strategy session on how to advance the campaign in an election year, and a mini skill-share on activist topics.

The intention is to build the movement locally and make the most of shared talents, resources and connections.

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- Nelson

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