Greens say no to deep sea drilling

The Green Party wants to prohibit deep sea oil drilling around the coast of New Zealand, at a time when some of the global giants of drilling are conducting testing in New Zealand waters.

The policy seems at odds with the Labour Party which recently came out in support of offshore drilling. Green co-leader Russel Norman said the Greens in government would protect the beaches by keeping the deep sea oil genie in the bottle.

''There are no deep sea wells in New Zealand so now is the time to prohibit the practice. Like New Zealand chose to go nuclear free, we can add to our national environmental identity by also being deep sea oil free.''

Dr Norman claimed the deeper the offshore drilling, the greater the risk.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the release by the Greens showed the Left was in disarray over the economy.

The Greens' strident policy against oil exploration was the opposite of where Labour energy spokesman David Shearer was trying to take the Labour Party in an attempt to show Labour was not anti-growth, he said.

Mr Shearer was quoted two weeks ago as saying deep sea drilling would continue under a Labour government, but with more safety regulations.

Mr Joyce said the Greens had adopted a cartoon-like approach to economic policy, labelling everything used in the resource-based sectors as bad.

''They are anti-oil, anti-dairy and anti-irrigation. On top of that, they are also against free trade and against the Government's roading programme which is crucial to connect regional New Zealand.''

The Greens also announced the party wanted compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping; building Maritime New Zealand's oil-spill response capability; and introducing a stronger legal framework to deal with the costs of oil-related accidents.


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