The new Rainbow Warrior is sailing towards Dunedin to
campaign but a Dunedin city councillor says residents should
decide on the future of deep-sea drilling in Otago.
Greenpeace New Zealand communications officer Dean
Baigent-Mercer said the third Greenpeace ship to carry the
Rainbow Warrior name would dock in New Zealand ports
for the first time next year.
Free public tours of the ship were planned for Dunedin, Oban
on Stewart Island, Bluff, Auckland and Wellington, he said.
The ship was sailing from Sri Lanka and although the arrival
time was weather dependent, it was expected to dock in
Dunedin on January 31 for three days.
On board would be 30 crew and campaigners, who would share
stories with the public, he said.
Greenpeace New Zealand campaigner Steve Abel said a campaign
would begin at the first port of call in Northland about the
risks of deep-sea oil drilling.
However, Dunedin City Council's finance, strategy and
development committee chairman Cr Syd Brown said he was
unaware Rainbow Warrior was coming to Dunedin to
campaign against deep-sea drilling.
"If they choose to oppose the exploration of minerals, that's
their choice, but they don't have the right to impose their
will on anyone or the city of Dunedin."
Because the drilling was for gas, and not oil, there was less
environmental concern, he said.
He had met oil companies and had been reassured their health
and safety standards were greater than the New Zealand
Government required. Deep-sea drilling would create big
economic gains for Dunedin, he said.
"Which we lack at the moment."
Greenpeace New Zealand executive director Bunny McDiarmid
said donations from New Zealand funded the wet room on
Rainbow Warrior, where activists boarded inflatables.