Action group against drilling

LAURA MAXWELL
Last updated 05:00 20/03/2014

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A group of anti-fracking protesters have begun a random once-a-week picket in New Plymouth.

Four members of the Te Uru Pounamu Action Group with placards reading "No to Fracking!" and "No drilling on our Maunga!" gathered outside Tag Oil's St Aubyn St office yesterday.

The group is made up of members of the Maori Party, Climate Justice Taranaki, the Green Party and other concerned individuals.

It is upset about the Canadian company's plans to explore a potential gas field 350 metres from the Egmont National Park's boundary, on Rowan Rd, Mahoe.

"To consider drilling in an area on the mountain is the height of stupidity," said New Plymouth woman Kath Lauderdale.

Tag Oil chief operating officer Drew Cadenhead said the protesters were moved off its driveway yesterday.

He said he had tried to reason with them at earlier protests but they had drowned him out with chanting.

"It's a democratic society so they are entitled to say their piece, but they would have no influence on the company's plans," Mr Cadenhead said.

Tag Oil had planned to begin drilling in November 2013 but it was delayed when the Ngati Haua hapu took an appeal to the Environment Court. That appeal was struck out on March 5 but the start of drilling had not been rescheduled.

Laura Maxwell is a Witt journalism student

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