Otago Daily Times New Zealand: Protesters exhorted to ‘say no’


By David Bruce on Fri, 14 Feb 2014
The Regions: North Otago

Greenpeace hopes thousands will flock to protests in the South Island tomorrow to oppose deep-sea oil drilling off the Otago coast.

Individual communities, under the umbrella of Greenpeace’s ”Banners on the Beach” campaign to ”say no to the deep sea oil gamble”, have organised 17 protests at venues stretching from Golden Bay to Bluff.

Greenpeace public engagement co-ordinator Genevieve Toop told the Otago Daily Times from Auckland about 5000 people were at similar protests in November at 45 beaches in the North Island, opposing exploratory drilling off Raglan by Anadarko, also off the Otago coast.

In North Otago, two beaches will be used for protests, Friendly Bay in Oamaru Harbour and one of the region’s most popular tourist spots, the Moeraki boulders. St Clair is the Dunedin venue.

One of the organisers of the Moeraki protest, Bronwyn Judge, said drilling offshore in very deep and rough water posed a higher risk of an oil spill than on land or in shallow water.

Development of clean energy sources and a significant reduction in the dependence on fossil fuels was also needed to combat catastrophic global climate change, not seeking more fossil fuel, she said.

Those wanting to protest have been urged to gather at the two sites at noon, meeting at Friendly Bay and the Moeraki Boulders reserve car park.

They are asked to prepare and bring their own banners, face paint or sand building tools, cameras or videos to record the protest, a picnic lunch and swimming clothes if the day is good.

At Moeraki, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher would explain the Waitaki District Council’s thinking and other councillors had been invited for the discussions, then walking along to the boulders for photographs.

Another speaker will be University of Otago associate professor Bob Lloyd. director of the energy studies programme in the physics department, whose work has included renewable energy.

Other protests at noon tomorrow are planned for Timaru’s Caroline Bay, the Waitati Festival at Bland Park and Bluff’s Marine Parade.

– david.bruce@odt.co.nz

Special thanks to Richard Charter

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