No Drill set to confront Nats

EMMA DANGERFIELD
Last updated 11:00 12/03/2014

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Kaikoura

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The National Party's advisory group on environmental issues, the Bluegreens, is holding its annual conference in Kaikoura this weekend.

On Sunday at Takahanga Marae, Conservation Minister Nick Smith will be announcing the Government's response to coastal guardian group Te Korowai o Te Tai o Marokura's marine strategy.

It is understood that Environment Minister Amy Adams and Prime Minister John Key will attend a hui on Sunday morning. The prime minister, Cabinet and other attendees plan to go whale watching directly after the hui.

Last week No Drill Kaikoura, an organisation concerned about the risks of deep sea oil exploration, requested John Key attend a public forum while he was in town to discuss the issue of deep sea oil, but he declined.

No Drill is inviting the community to take their banners and placards to Churchill Park at 10.30am on Sunday to send a message to the prime minister and Cabinet ministers directly.

No Drill Kaikoura spokeswoman Lynda Kitchingham, who was a member of Te Korowai for five years, said it would be interesting to hear the Government's response to the strategy in light of their support of deep-sea drilling in the region.

"Representatives from the Kaikoura community have put 10 or so years of hard work into a conservation strategy for the region to which the Government will be presenting its response next weekend."

Inaugural chairman of Te Korowai, Maurice Manawatu, said the idea of drilling in the area did not make sense.

"It just seems so incompatible to be promoting oil exploration in the very canyon that feeds directly into the proposed, marine reserve, marine mammal sanctuary and World Heritage site."

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- The Marlborough Express

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