Greens plan Kiwi Bid in oil drilling fight

Last updated 13:39 19/05/2013

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The Green Party today announced its plan to take on deep-sea oil drilling companies in New Zealand waters.

At west-coast town Piha this afternoon, party co-leader Metiria Turei said the new campaign – dubbed The Kiwi Bid – will invite people to be part of a rival tender to protect the environment.

"While the Government is giving oil companies the right to bid to exploit our environment, the Green Party plans to submit a competing bid to protect it," Turei said.

"By submitting the Kiwi Bid, we give the Government a clear choice. Pursue risky deep sea oil drilling that profits the oil companies, or accept the bid from thousands of Kiwis who love our beaches and pristine ocean and want to protect them."

On Friday, the Government begins the non-financial tender process with oil companies for new permits to conduct deep-sea drilling off the west coast of the North Island and the East Coast of the South Island.

Turei said even the industry itself had admitted there were no guarantees of safety, thus proving the Government held the economic interests of the big companies over environmental values.

"The Government's argument of an economic boon are rubbish. There is little evidence that there would be many jobs from these deep sea rigs and they put at risk the local economies if there is a spill," she said.

According to the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research report commissioned by the Government and released in March 2012, 90 per cent of profits from deep-sea oil drilling would end up off shore.

Turei said the arrival of the big businesses would not create thousands of jobs for Kiwis either.

"Like the Government listened to the New Zealanders who marched down Queen Street to protect our national parks from mining, we hope the Government will listen to the call from thousands of New Zealanders to protect our beaches from risky deep sea drilling."

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