01 October 2014, News Wires – A group of anti-oil protestors have overshadowed an industry event in New Zealand after a protester scaled a building to hang a banner condemning Statoil’s activities in the region.
The banner was dropped in front of Statoil’s offices in the city to mark the start of the Petroleum Summit in Auckland.
Oil Free Wellington was originally set up to protest US independent Anadarko Petroleum’s drilling in the country, but have now set their sights on the Norwegian player.
Protest organisers said the drilling taking place offshore New Zealand was dangerous for marine life and coastal environments.
A video from the group on the protest can be viewed here.
“We’ve hung this banner today… to highlight the environmental destruction (that) Statoil has planned for Northland and our climate,” said Oil Free Wellington spokesperson Jessie Dennis.
“Along with being incredibly risky, deep-sea oil brings few benefits to Northland communities. There simply aren’t the lucrative jobs in the oil business for locals. Instead, the threats to their uses of the sea are all too real.
“The dramatic effects of climate change are only going to get worse. We face floods, droughts, mass extinction and food shortages as climate change accelerates.”
Statoil is reportedly set to start seismic exploration activity off the north coast of New Zealand in December. The company has been granted a 15-year exploration permit off the coast of Northland.
This protest coincided with Auckland Greenpeace activists who on Wednesday disrupted the opening of the summit.
Oil Free Wellington took to its Facebook page to commend the actions of the Greenpeace activists.
Certain Maori groups in New Zealand recently planned to start a 420-kilometre hikoi (protest march) against Statoil’s plans.
“Statoil should have got the message … that their deep-sea oil drilling is not welcome,” said Rueben Taipari Porter of the Te Rarawa group.
“It was disgusting to find out that they are now sponsoring the government oil conference in Auckland. They obviously haven’t been listening. Maori don’t want Statoil and their deep-sea oil drilling.
“Most of the money Statoil makes goes into the pension fund in Norway. It shocks us to think that Norwegian people would put this beautiful sea that we catch our food from, beaches that our children grow up on, at risk. For what? More money?
“We have been here since our ancestors navigated across the Pacific Ocean a long time ago. We welcome Norwegian people here as friends, but not Statoil,” added Taipari Porter.