You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
A majority of nine ''yes'' votes overwhelmed four ''no'' votes and an abstention when the council voted to call on the Government to place a moratorium on deep-sea oil and gas exploration and extraction.
The vote was, in a way, an early test of the collective thinking of the new council after last month's elections, in which there were allegations of a green ''bloc'' that voted together at meetings.
Yesterday, councillors were required to vote on the local authority's draft submission to the Government's ''block offer'' for next year, when the Government invites applications for permits to explore for petroleum resources, primarily oil and gas, in defined blocks of land and sea.
The block offer in 2013 included areas off the Otago coast, and the council has made submissions on the issue since then, after inviting community feedback.
Council corporate policy manager Maria Ioannou said in a report councillors resolved in 2015 to call on the Government to place a moratorium on exploration in New Zealand waters.
''However, this position may no longer reflect the views of the new council following local government elections earlier this year.''
The submission presented to the council yesterday for consideration included the call for a moratorium.
Before councillors discussed the matter they listened to a stream of people, all of whom used a public forum to argue they should continue their opposition.
Oil Free Otago's Brooke Cox said her group was relying on councillors to be ''a voice of reason'', to take a strong stand and say ''no'' to the block offer.
''It's time to think about how you are remembered as a council.''
Auckland and Christchurch city councils had opposed the offers, and Dunedin should
continue to do so.
The meeting also heard from other opponents of the offer, including members of the Catholic community.
Cr Lee Vandervis asked Ms Ioannou if the submissions from the past had an effect on the Government, to which she responded ''no''.
Cr Andrew Whiley, who drew derisive laughter at times from Oil Free Otago supporters in the public gallery, asked about feedback from the community that opposed the block offer.
''Are you referring to the silent majority or vocal minority?'' Cr Whiley asked.
Ms Ioannou said submissions were consistently opposed to exploration.
Cr Aaron Hawkins moved the council approve the submission in line with existing policy, calling for all applications to be declined by the Government.
Cr Whiley said coal was the worst offender for climate change, and gas was a good way to move people away from its industrial use.
But Cr Jim O'Malley said arguments relating to coal use in other countries were ''spurious'', as New Zealand was a country that used renewable energy.
Technology, like the use of electric cars, was changing quickly, and more people were moving in that direction.
Cr Damian Newell said it was time to move away from all fossil fuel use.
There was no need to use gas as a transition to electric power for cars as electric vehicles were ''catching on very quickly''.
Cr Christine Garey said the community was looking to the council for leadership on the issue.
The council would be ''shooting ourselves in the foot'' if it did anything to endanger its wildlife tourism.
Councillors, she said, had a moral responsibility to the young to make good decisions about climate change.
Mayor Dave Cull described arguments about the thoughts of a silent majority as ''spurious''.
His own views on the issue had changed in the past few years, and he thought if there was a silent majority, its views were also changing on the need to deal with climate change.
Crs David Benson-Pope, Garey, Hawkins, Marie Laufiso, Newell, O'Malley, Chris Staynes, Kate Wilson and Mr Cull voted for the submission opposing the block offer.
Crs Whiley, Conrad Stedman, Mike Lord and Doug Hall voted against, while Cr Rachel Elder abstained.
Cr Vandervis had left the room to attend an appointment when the vote was taken.