The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

Energy Minister Misleads Public On Oil Exploration – Petrobas already has permit to drill for oil! + FLOTILLA UPDATE!

27 March 2011

When did  this  NZ National/ACT Government consult with the public on whether or not we agree with deep sea oil drilling in NZ?

Where will the money go – who will benefit?


Given the BP deep sea oil drilling disaster on the Gulf of Mexico – why would NZ take the risk?

“A protest flotilla is heading for the East Cape this week to meet the seismic testing ship that is under contract to Petrobras and due to commence work on 3 April.”


Flotilla Information:

Ahi Kā Action Coalition:

Penny Bright


Energy Minister Misleads Public On Oil Exploration

Sunday, 27 March 2011, 1:06 pm
Press Release: Manu Caddie

Energy Minister Misleads Public

27 March 2011

A Gisborne District Councillor is claiming the Acting Minister of Energy and Resources is deliberately misleading the public in recent statements she has made about exploration for oil and gas off the East Cape.

Manu Caddie, a Gisborne City ward councillor, said Hekia Parata lied in a recent media statement and Opinion Piece that appeared in The Gisborne Herald on the 24th and 26th March.

In The Gisborne Herald articles Ms Parata says the permit is only for seismic testing not drilling and Petrobras would need another permit if they want to drill. “That is a blatant lie” said Mr Caddie “While Petrobras can surrender the permit after they complete analysis of the seismic testing, the permit expressly gives permission to drill a well.”

“I’m sure Ms Parata has actually read the Crown Minerals permit signed last year by her predecessor which states that: ‘Within 60 months of the commencement of the permit, the permittee SHALL drill one exploratory well.’ There is no need for Petrobras to come back and ask the government for another permit before they start drilling.”

The permit issued to Brazillian energy giant Petrobras by Gerry Brownlee in June 2010 is for oil and gas exploration over 12,330 square kilometres of the Raukumara Basin. The Gulf of Mexico disaster last year resulted from an exploratory gas well that exploded when compressed gas from the drill shot up the drill shaft and ignited on the platform killing 11 workers before spilling 700 million litres of oil into the ocean over several months.

A protest flotilla is heading for the East Cape this week to meet the seismic testing ship that is under contract to Petrobras and due to commence work on 3 April.

Opposition groups are also challenging the government to be consistent on its position on seismic testing. Last year the New Zealand government put pressure on Russia to stop oil and gas exploration using seismic tests in whale migration zones. A guide on marine mammal protection issued by the Department of Conservation lists the waters around East Cape as a key marine mammal migration area from Autumn through to Spring which is the period in which the Petrobras ship will be using underwater sonic shock waves to gather data on potential oil and gas deposits in the area.

Flotilla Information:

Ahi Kā Action Coalition:


Rousing Send Off for Flotilla Opposing Deep Sea Oil Drilling

Sunday, 27 March 2011, 5:14 pm
Press Release: Greenpeace New Zealand

Rousing Send Off for Flotilla Opposing Deep Sea Oil Drilling

Auckland, Sunday 27 March 2011: This afternoon a support flotilla of 20 yachts, kayaks, tinnys and tira waka escorted a group of four yachts heading to Whangaparāoa Bay by Cape Runaway on the East Cape of the North Island to join te Whānau-a-Apanui in their campaign to defend the coast from deep sea oil exploration.

Representatives of the iwi spoke, sang and gave a powerful haka to farewell and bless the flotilla. Leaders from Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tai, Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Kahu announced they all stand behind the iwi in solidarity opposing deep sea oil drilling.

“Te Whānau a Apanui are grateful and humbled with the support we have received from a diversity of groups”, says iwi spokesman Rawiri Waititi. “This is not about money, this is about mana, and handing over the signed banners that will be used by the flotilla is a symbol of combining the mana of the Iwi with the people and groups that are supporting us to stop deep sea drilling in our tribal waters.”

Vessels joining the protest flotilla are coming from as far afield as the Bay of Islands and Dunedin.

“There is an impressive history attached to these boats sailing today”, says Steve Abel, Greenpeace climate campaigner, “Vega (leading the flotilla) made the original trip to Moruroa in 1972 to protest French nuclear testing and help inspire the movement through which we became a nuclear free nation.”

“We are united in our resolve to defend our waters and coastlines”, he said. “This send off today was a categorical expression of opposition to deep sea oil drilling”.

Greenpeace’s petition to stop deep sea oil drilling and new coal mines has over 51,000 people sign. The swell of public opinion against deep sea oil drilling follows on from the opposition and subsequent dropping of plans to mine Schedule 4 conservation land.

”Of course the bigger picture is our contribution to climate change”, says Daniel Mares, skipper of the Vega. “Instead of pursuing oil extraction we should be forging ahead with renewable energy and be weaning ourselves off oil”.

“Oil spills are a huge risk for the marine environment”, said Clemes Oestreich, skipper of Infinity. “We eat fish from the sea, we love the life in the ocean – the last thing we want is to destroy it. In every way it’s not the way humanity should be going. We have every reason to demonstrate against this behaviour”.

Next weekend the flotilla will be welcomed by Te Whānau-a-Apanui at Whangaparāoa/Cape Runaway near East Cape where the groups intend to strategise further how to stop Petrobras’ exploration plans and the Government’s current strategy of selling off the rights to drill for oil in the waters around New Zealand.

The public can also help ‘stop deep sea oil’ by going to:


March 27, 2011 - Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ

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