Thousands march against deep sea drilling



Thousands of activists marched through downtown Auckland on March 29 to protest against deep sea oil drilling.

Protestors assembled at Victoria Park before starting their march to the SkyCity convention centre beating drums and chanting “frack off”.

The Advantage New Zealand Petroleum Summit was being held at the convention centre and Energy Minister Simon Bridges was one of the speakers at the event.

Greenpeace senior climate campaigner Simon Boxer said the protest is an on-going global movement and that the people would not stop until the Government listens.

“The Government still wants international companies to come to New Zealand and do very risky deep sea oil drilling. We saw five years ago in the Gulf of Mexico – one accident is enough to devastate a whole area for a very long time.”

Hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ is a way of extracting fossil fuels through deep water drilling, which has prompted protests in California, Algeria and Britain in the past month.

According to Greenpeace’s Facebook page, about 6000 people attended the march.

Mr Boxer said New Zealand should follow countries like Germany and Japan who are going for “clean energy”, like wind and solar power.

He said the risks associated with deep sea oil drilling to New Zealand marine life are too big for the Government to not take action.

There are only 55 Maui dolphins remaining, according to the Department of Conservation.

Marcher Jo Bates said her message to the executives at the convention centre was to “reconsider corporate greed for the benefit of the planet and people”.

“It’s profit over environment,” Ms Bates said.

A report released last year by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) said 10 permits were granted to explore New Zealand waters for oil drilling.

The report also said conservation areas are not auctioned off and organisations only receive permits once local iwi and councils have been consulted.