Greenpeace has slammed the Government over news that the crown minerals regulator has allowed Greymouth Petroleum to piggyback off an existing mining permit to commence seismic blasting in an adjacent area of more than 260 square kilometers.
“Allowing new oil exploration now makes a mockery of Jacinda Ardern’s climate emergency declaration,” said Greenpeace Aotearoa programme director Niamh O’Flynn. “Which part of ‘Climate Crisis’ does this Government not understand?”
“We’re seeing more oil exploration, more free passes for the dairy industry, and the climate minister denying New Zealand needs fewer cows – as the world burns and Jacinda Ardern’s nuclear free moment looks ever more like an empty promise,” said O’Flynn.
“Later tonight, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is likely to advise a rapid shift from fossil fuels over the next eight years, so to hear that New Zealand is allowing more oil and gas exploration is disturbing indeed.
“The world applauded New Zealand’s ban on new oil and gas exploration permits, but now, as the people of Tairāwhiti are still drying out after being inundated by climate floods for a second time in a matter of months, this government seems intent on setting fire to its reputation as a climate leader,” said O’Flynn.
Greenpeace campaigned for nearly a decade to end offshore oil and gas exploration because of the risk to the climate from finding new oil and gas to burn, and to ocean life from the possibility of catastrophic oil spills.
The announcement by Jacinda Ardern in 2018 that the new Labour Government would ban oil and gas exploration was marked as a huge moment for people power, for the iwi, hapū, environmental groups, and hundreds of thousands of people who for a decade maintained one of the most relentless campaigns of the modern era to put an end to deep sea oil exploration in New Zealand.
Seismic blasting involves sending shockwaves into the Earth’s crust below the seabed every ten seconds, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for weeks on end. The use of seismic waves can have a devastating impact on the health of marine life including whales, seals and dolphins in the area.