An on-water flotilla and a beach rally on Sunday the 13th November told oil companies Statoil and Chevron that they’re not welcome in Wellington.
The Wellington community took to the water in kayaks and held banners onshore, throwing an ‘unwelcoming party’ for Statoil and Chevron, and making it clear to them and to the Government that we won’t stand for a future full of fossil fuels.
Statoil and Chevron have contracted the world’s largest seismic blasting ship, the Amazon Warrior, to look for oil off Wellington’s coast. The ship arrived New Zealand waters days before the earthquakes which recently shook the country.
If we have any hope for a stable climate, we can’t let Statoil and Chevron explore for yet more oil and gas. Scientists tell us we cannot even burn existing reserves. We need to urgently move away from fossil fuels.
Wellingtonians were joined by Te Ikaroa, a group representing tangata whenua opposed to oil exploration off the East Coast.
Te Ikaroa spokesperson Tere Harrison said, “Numerous hapū and iwi from the East Coast to the top of the South Island expressed opposition to this activity because of the harm to the environment. Despite Government attempts to extinguish Māori rights in these matters, Māori state again and again: we have rights and an obligation to protect these areas, and we will.”
“Māori also know firsthand Government is unable to protect marine environments if there is an oil spill. That was evident in the Rena disaster. Furthermore, the Government’s pursuit of fossil fuels is insane. The era of fossil fuels is ending, Government must commit to developing sustainable fuels. The impact on the environment and on the earth demands it,” Ms Harrison added.
After facing ongoing opposition from tangata whenua, Statoil recently gave up its Northland permits. Now’s the time to kick Statoil out of New Zealand for good.
It’s been nearly a year since the Paris climate agreement and it’s clear that Government won’t act – in fact it is continuing to invite oil and gas companies to explore in our waters.
The impacts of an unstable climate are already being felt by those who have contributed least to it. Our near neighbours in the Pacific face an uncertain future as the sea level rises. We stand in solidarity with all peoples around the world who are resisting fossil fuel development.
This ‘unwelcoming’ party for the oil companies was a demonstration of people power. We aren’t relying on the Paris Climate Agreement or the National Government to sort things out – because they won’t. It’s up to us as communities to take real action on climate change.