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Greenpeace protestors deliver ‘eviction notices’ to oil exploration company

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The protestors on their way to the Majestic Centre. RNZ photo

Report from RNZ
In Wellington this morning, about 100 environmental protesters attempted to stick ‘eviction notices’ on the Majestic Centre where the Austrian oil company OMV is based.

The action, led by Greenpeace, followed a stunt three weeks ago where two protesters scaled the building to hang a large banner reading ‘It’s a climate emergency’.

This morning security guards at the building ripped down the notices that protesters were hanging.

But Steve Abels from Greenpeace said they would keep the pressure on.

“We’ve had good success in the past with the departure of Chevron, Shell and others, and so we know that this sort of pressure on these companies makes being in this part of the world an unattractive prospect.”

Mr Abels said OMV was one of 100 companies responsible for 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s also the last oil major left in New Zealand.”

A petition of 30,000 signatures was delivered to the company demanding an immediate stop on oil exploration and drilling.

Rosemary Penwarden, who had her sign ripped down by security, had travelled from Dunedin to be at the protest.

“Off the coast of Dunedin in the Great South Basin is where OMV want to drill for oil and gas and that is one of the most treacherous oceans in the world and it is where the Southern Right Whales are coming back to… we’ve got yellow-eyed penguins that are really struggling this year… one third of the world’s albatross come from the southern ocean, they breed there.

“So I’m doing this for them, and the thousand of people down south who do not want OMV to come to the Great South Basin.”

A Wellington resident, Kieran Martin, who was there to protest said the climate crisis was different from New Zealand’s nuclear-free moment, because people did not want to let go of fossil fuels. He said it was easy to agree on turning down nuclear energy, because New Zealand did not use it.

“Oil is a hard thing to let go of, we use it so much for everything/ So we talk about [climate change] being the ‘nuclear-free moment’ but nuclear was pretty easy to say no to because of Hiroshima, but, we all use oil and it is so destructive to even be looking for more oil.”

Representatives from Oil Free Wellington, 350 Wellington, Extinction Rebellion, Oil Free Otago, and School Strikes 4 Climate were all in attendance.

Press Release – Greenpeace New Zealand
Close to 100 people are preparing to hand in an eviction notice to Austrian oil giant OMV at its Majestic Centre headquarters in Wellington this morning.

The activity follows a 14 hour climb three weeks ago by Greenpeace activists, who scaled the side of the Majestic Centre after unveiling a banner reading, “It’s a climate emergency”, to reach OMV’s offices on the 20th floor. Upon reaching the offices, Abi Smith and Nick Hanafin announced today’s eviction notice delivery and called on anyone interested to join Greenpeace in serving it.

The eviction notice has now been signed by more than 30,000 people.

From around 9am this morning, those taking part in the hand-in will peacefully demand access to OMV’s office to deliver the notice, however increased security is expected. Representatives from groups including Oil Free Wellington, 350 Wellington, Extinction Rebellion, Oil Free Otago, and School Strikes 4 Climate are in attendance.

Greenpeace senior campaigner Steve Abel says today’s activity is the latest in a series of public protests that challenge OMV’s oil drilling agenda in New Zealand. “OMV is the last major oil company left in New Zealand that still holds permits to explore for new oil and gas,” he says. “New Zealand is ground zero for the global movement against the oil industry. Almost a decade of relentless pressure by tens of thousands of people culminated in New Zealand becoming one of the first countries in the world to ban new oil and gas exploration permits, covering nearly four million square kilometers of ocean territory.

“In the lead up to the ban, public pressure helped drive out every other oil major that arrived to seismic blast and drill in our oceans, including Petrobras, Anadarko, Statoil (Equinor), and Shell. With OMV, it’s really a case of the last oil company standing. By stopping this company, we could put the brakes on offshore oil exploration in New Zealand for good.”

OMV plans to drill a number of oil wells off the Taranaki Coast and in the Great South Basin using a 12-storey self-propelled drill rig, which arrived in the country in June. The company is one of 100 that have caused more than 70% of the world’s climate emissions. As well as impacts on the climate, Abel says OMV’s plans threaten wildlife and risk catastrophic oil spills.

“The waters where it will be operating are alive with with a multitude of rare and endangered species, including dolphins, whales, penguins, albatross, seals and sealions,” he says. “If OMV refuses to relinquish its permits here, it can expect resistance every step of the way.”

Greenpeace launched a petition today calling on OMV to give up its exploration permits.

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