Greens Wants Oil Drilling Halt


The Greens today called for a ban on all new oil permits until “proper environmental, safety and public consultation processes are in place.”

Radio New Zealand reported today that Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee is granting permits for exploratory oil drilling without any consideration of environmental impacts. There have been reports for months that these same offers are being made without appropriate public consultation.

“It is disingenuous of the Minister to say he will consider the environment later when he has already issued a permit for Petrobras to drill an exploratory well,” Dr Kennedy Graham, Green Party Energy spokesperson said today.

“An exploratory well poses all the same risks of a production well and Petrobras already has a permit to drill if it wishes.

“We need robust environmental legislation to protect the integrity of our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from oil companies whose economic incentive is to cut corners and increase profits rather than look after our fisheries and shorelines.

“It is clear that the government has failed to learn the lesson from the Deep Water Horizon spill. Even with the most advanced capabilities at your doorstep, a laissez-faire attitude is a recipe for disaster.

“If an exploratory well runs into trouble, has Minister Brownlee ensured that there is relief well capability in place to respond, or do we have to wait 6 months for a foreign rig to arrive and a further 4 months for relief drilling while our fisheries and shorelines are destroyed?

“We must recognise that New Zealand’s conditions are much more rough and remote than the Gulf of Mexico. It is time to stop and make a proper risk assessment of all future drilling applications. We need a mechanism comparable to the RMA in which all such applications can be publicly scrutinised, contested and subject to judicial review. Without this, we risk rushing headlong into the next great environmental disaster,” Dr Graham said.




  1. Driller says:

    I can’t believe that the RMA only extends out to the 12 mile limit. Beyond that and pretty much anything goes. It’s the wild west.

    I understand that in Brazil, where Petrobras are based, environmental legislation extends to the whole of the EEZ. The same should be the case here.


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