Oil Free Otago protests outside meeting

Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Protesters stood outside the Dunedin Community House yesterday as offshore oil and gas explorer Shell holds talks inside with environmental groups about plans for deepwater drilling in the Great South Basin.

Lobby group Oil Free Otago, which refused to take part in the meetings, was protesting about a proposed $200 million programme to drill for gas.

Shell New Zealand chairman Rob Jager said the company supported the right for peaceful, lawful protest.

''We understand, and in many ways share the concerns held for the environment and we go to great lengths to ensure that our activities have minimal impact on the environment in which we operate.''

Mr Jager said the meeting was to respond to issues raised during an April meeting that was abandoned after Oil Free Otago shouted down speakers.

Environmental groups in the meeting were the members of the Ornithological Society, the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and Puketeraki Marae.

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