Drilling protest draws a crowd

18:24, Feb 16 2014
Oil drilling protests
SAYING NO: Crowds gathered at Caroline Bay on Saturday in opposition to deep sea oil and gas exploration.

South Canterbury joined 20 other protests across South Island beaches when more than 100 people gathered on Caroline Bay to express their concerns over deep sea oil and gas exploration.

The Saturday protest was supported by a contingent of members from Transition Town Timaru, South Canterbury Forest and Bird, supporters of Greenpeace and No Fracking No Deep Sea Oil.

About 140 people protested from 12pm.

Three speakers expressed their concerns. Rebecca Lees greeted the crowd and spoke from a mother's perspective, Erin Crowley, a local musician, expressed her concerns through lyrics in her music and Lady Fiona Elworthy talked about potential fracking in the area.

"Deep sea oil drilling is too high a risk," Ms Lees said.

"Drilling at depths of over 1000 metres below sea level brings risks not encountered by the current shallow water drilling in Taranaki," she said.

She said Maritime New Zealand had the capability of managing a 3500 tonne spill, but a deep water blow out off the Canterbury coast could extend to 100 times that.

"Help for a deep water spill would take weeks to arrive and to disperse the oil a toxic chemical is required which is associated with severe illness; this would have a devastating impact on the marine environment and could cripple the New Zealand economy."


The Timaru Herald