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Oil drilling threatens Maui’s dolphins, mammal sanctuary, forest park

Media release from Green Party
The Government’s block offer announcement of an area almost twice the size of New Zealand and including the home of the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin and other protected conservation areas is further evidence of how out of touch they’ve become, the Green Party said today.

“The Government has ignored the huge public concern about the risks of deep sea oil and the risks to our marine life including our 55 remaining Maui’s dolphins,” Green Party mining spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.

“The Government is putting oil profits ahead of protecting our precious places. Areas of the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary as well as the Victoria Forest Park are still included in the permits.

“It’s clear the Government doesn’t care about protecting our precious last remaining Maui’s dolphins when they are offering up their home for oil and gas exploration while it is known that seismic surveying can seriously harm marine mammals.

“The strategy of luring oil companies to New Zealand is failing and this block offer shows how increasingly desperate the Government is becoming with the latest block larger than the size of Greenland.

“The amount of our land and oceans being offered up to foreign oil companies has increased 125 per cent since 2012. It raises the question if they will stop at nothing to help foreign oil companies make a buck.

“If the Government has its way there will soon be virtually no areas of New Zealand not offered up for cheap to big overseas oil companies.

“While big international oil companies slash their exploration budgets due to the low oil price, the National Government arrogantly continues its failing strategy of backing this sunset industry with taxpayer subsidies.

“Internationally, we must keep 80 per cent of all known fossil fuel reserves in the ground in order to have a chance of staying below 2 degrees warming.

“Our beaches and climate can’t afford National’s misguided economic strategy of hoping Big Oil finds something down deep in our waters and crossing their fingers they don’t leave too much of a mess as they export any profits.

“The Government must listen to the concern about its reckless oil and gas plans and instead invest in renewables and a transition to a green and sustainable economy,” said Mr Hughes.