Protesters unite to say 'no' to drilling

16:00, Feb 16 2014

Thousands swarmed the South Island's east coast beaches to protest against deep-sea oil drilling in the Pegasus and Canterbury basins.

Oil giant Anadarko has permits for exploratory drilling and seismic surveying in blocks of the east coast of the South Island.

It owned a 25 per cent share in the Gulf of Mexico oil well, which exploded, causing one of the world's largest oil spills.

The biggest protests were in Dunedin, Christchurch and Kaikoura.

In Christchurch, Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck lent her support to the cause.

"This makes no sense to anyone except the Government and the oil companies."


"The environmental costs of an oil spill are devastating. Are we prepared to leave that risk mitigation up to oil companies?"

The Christchurch City Council had voiced its opposition to the drilling in the past.

Protest organiser Siana Fitzjohn said she was "stoked" with the turnout.

Young and old had gathered for the protest with homemade banners, ukeleles and face paint. A few brave souls were covered in fake oil made from molasses and cooking oil to demonstrate how oil stuck to wildlife it encountered.

Peaceful protests were also held in Akaroa, Motueka, and Bluff.

Banners on the Beach was organised by a coalition of local oil free groups and Greenpeace.

The Press