Peaceful Civil Disobedience at Oil Conference

The Government is hosting Oil Companies, and opening up large areas offshore for oil and gas exploration tenders at the beginning of next week, at Sky City Convention Centre Auckland. This is of concern as on one hand New Zealand has committed to lowering carbon emissions at COP21, Paris, and on the other hand they are creating opportunities for overseas oil companies to come in and exploit and damage an environment in the extraction of fossil fuel. The fossil fuels once burnt will exacerbate climate change. Instead of keeping fossil fuels “locked in” the ground, so they are never used, the Government is opening the door with little regard to the long term cost of such an action. It calls into question New Zealand’s relationship with its neighbours in the Pacific who hold real concerns on the impact climate change will have on their islands – primarily sea level rise and the salinization of land and fresh water. Bridget Crisp rsm

On Monday 21 March at Sky City around 150 protesters blocked all the main entrances to the SkyCity convention centre in Auckland. The New Zealand Petroleum Conference 2016 was being held there. For three days international and local experts on oil and gas spoke about domestic and international production and exploration. Topics ranged from geoscience, technology, engineering, economics, community and regulatory streams. The Government also launched a tender for exploration permits.
Greenpeace invited the general public to participate in a “civil disobedience” protest against petroleum exploration. Greenpeace Executive director Russel Norman said “If you are part of the oil industry that’s trying to destabilise a stable climate – find more oil and burn it – then you are acting immorally and unethically, and we are going to sit here and make it difficult for you to go ahead with your conference”. Although protesters managed to get into the casino, they failed to break into the convention centre. No arrests were made according to Police.

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