Oil protest march in Hamilton's CBD

HARRY PEARL
Last updated 08:34 13/02/2014
Deep sea drilling protest
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ

Making a point: Protesters Richard Kyle and Ross MacLeod, at rear, unravel a long line of yarn to demonstrate against deep sea oil drilling.

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A theatrical march against deep sea oil drilling and sea bed mining off Raglan's coast left its mark on Hamilton's central business district yesterday.

Green Party candidate for Hamilton East, Mark Servian, organised and led a 2750-metre walk along Victoria St in order to put deep sea oil drilling in perspective.

Diners and motorists were left curious - and a little amused - as about 20 people, including two men in yellow jumpsuits and some with placards, ran a line of fluoro-yellow wool between Bridge St and Fairfield Bridge.

The distance represents the maximum permissible sea depth that drilling can be done at.

Texas oil giant Anadarko recently abandoned its search for commercially viable oil or gas at New Zealand's deepest exploratory well - at 1500 metres of water - off Raglan's coast.

Mr Servian said the Victoria St march was to give people an idea of the physical nature of drilling at deep depths.

"There's only so much you can do by talking to people.

"Being demonstrative and giving substance to abstract concepts is good in terms of getting messages across."

Mr Servian said drilling for oil at depths was "clutching at straws" and loaded with risk.

New Zealand could be leading the world in clean and green energy technology, he said.

Although he acknowledged Anadarko had abandoned its well west of Raglan, he said the march was an act of solidarity with the community, as it was still facing sea bed mining.

Olympian and rowing champion Rob Hamill attended the march along with his wife Rachel and two sons, Declan and Ivan. He said he was taking part in the protest for his kids and that the current political will was propping up big oil companies and supporting short-term thinking. "There's no long-term thinking about renewable energy," he said. "Easy oil" was gone and there should be a transition to renewable energy.

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- Waikato Times

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