Moeraki protesters take to sea over oil plans

Protesters take part in an anti-oil exploration demonstration at Moeraki Beach yesterday,...
Protesters take part in an anti-oil exploration demonstration at Moeraki Beach yesterday, including (from left) Ciaran Deighton, Trudi Asovale and Daniel Jones. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

It might have been freezing, but smearing themselves with a mixture of vegetable oil and molasses and plunging into the ocean at Moeraki yesterday was worth it for a group of deep-sea oil-drilling protesters.

United States oil company Anadarko plans to drill its first oil and gas exploration well off the Canterbury coast this summer, followed by one in the Taranaki Basin.

Twenty activists stripped off and oiled up to express their concern over the Government allowing such work.

Event organiser Niamh O'Flynn said the demonstration aimed to "bring the focus to the South Island" and raise awareness of the issue.

"At a time when the global community is recognising the need to combat climate change, it is shameful that our Government is working to expand our oil and coal industries," she said.

"Instead, they must commit to the clean, sustainable future that most New Zealanders expect."

Asked to comment on the impact of protests on possible oil exploration off Otago, Dunedin City Council economic development manager Peter Harris said there were different points of view and being able to air them was part of being in a democracy.

While "everybody wants to be welcomed", he considered oil companies accepted people had differing views.


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