NZ Oil and Gas defends fossil fuel roadshow

The fossil fuel roadshow that started its tour of South Taranaki schools yesterday could come to Otago and was not ''propaganda'' but a way to engage with the community, New Zealand Oil and Gas (NZOG) spokesman John Pagani says.

The week-long roadshow - run by NZOG, Tag Oil and Beach Energy - was about fossils, geology and the oil and gas work the companies were doing in the region.

Mr Pagani said NZOG sponsored the National Science-Technology Roadshow Trust and paid for the trust's exhibition on geology, fossils and minerals.

NZOG had borrowed the exhibition and hired the trust's exhibition truck to hold its own roadshow this week, he said.

The Green Party was concerned the roadshow was one-sided ''propaganda'' about the oil and gas industry designed to brainwash pupils.

Mr Pagani said the roadshow was a way for the companies to introduce themselves to residents and hear of communities' expectations.

''We would be strongly criticised if we didn't engage constructively with the community.''

A similar roadshow could come to Otago, Mr Pagani said.

Green Party spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty said the Government was obliged to ensure that what children were taught at school was accurate and balanced.

''Kids believe that what they learn at school is true.

''They should not be subjected to propaganda.''

The roadshow did not include the risks of drilling and the impact of fossil fuels on climate change.

''Businesses with profit on their minds should not be allowed into schools to influence how kids think about any issues, let alone large, controversial global issues like climate change and oil production.''

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