Anti-drilling hikoi arrives in Auckland

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Statoil-Protest
Protesters walk up Queen Street. Photo / Dale Smith

Anti-oil drilling protesters  gathered in Auckland today to make their feelings known about plans to drill for oil in the deep sea off Northland’s west coast.

In November, Norwegian oil giant Statoil was granted a permit to explore around 10,000sq km northwest of Cape Reinga.

Activist Mike Smith, who previously attacked the Monterey Pine on One Tree Hill, led the protest with participants from all across Northland and Auckland.

“Statoil have been granted a permit by the Government to drill in the Te Ranga basin,” said Smith. This permit extends from Cape Reinga to the Kaipara Harbour.

The intended testing is planned to start in December this year, as Statoil executives discuss their plans with Government ministers in the SkyCity convention center.

“It’s absolutely imperative that we stop the burning of fossil fuels,” said Smith to the crowd of protesters.

A variety of talkers arrived on the day, ranging from a Norwegian Greenpeace member, to known environmental activist Lucy Lawless.

“Tahi rua toru wha, waiho papa moana” and “Statoil go home. Leave our seas alone” were the chants led by co-organiser Steve Able.

“[New Zealanders] stand out for our defence of the land and the waters that we love and we live off. That is who we are,” said Able.

Statoil told the protesters they haven’t had any long-lasting disasters as a result of their deep sea oil drilling.

The protesters occupied Federal Street between Wellesley and Victoria Streets in the Auckland CBD until later in the evening when the scheduled Statoil meeting concluded.

Listen to an audio version of this story below:

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