Government intentions to end offshore oil exploration is a huge step forward in protecting ocean wildlife from oil spills, seismic testing, and is an important contribution in the fight against climate change, says Forest & Bird.
“Forest & Bird is delighted that New Zealand's seas are safe, for now, from further oil and gas exploration. The world can’t afford to burn the fossil fuels that we’ve already found so there’s no point looking for more.” says Forest & Bird CE Kevin Hague.
“Today's announcement is an important signal to the oil and gas industries that our seas are no longer their playground. Forest & Bird now wants to see this temporary breathing space be made permanent by changing the Crown Minerals Act, and having the block offer process dismantled entirely," says Mr Hague.
“Half the world’s whale and dolphin species visit or live in New Zealand waters, from the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin to giant blue whales. Today, these sensitive creatures are made safer from the threat of oil spills and the sonic barrage of seismic testing.
“The country saw how the Government failed to adequately respond to the relatively small Rena oil spill. An oil spill from deep sea drilling would be a catastrophe for our native penguins, dolphins, whales, and marine industries like fishing and marine farming.
“Only a few days ago in Australia it's been reported that BP recently tried to suggest oil spills are good for the economy. Meanwhile, a major oil spill off the coast of Borneo, Indonesia, is devastating local wildlife and fishing. Oil extraction is not an industry that New Zealand needs or wants,” says Mr Hague.
“Recent storms have shown us how vulnerable our communities and wildlife are to extreme weather events. Keeping New Zealand's oil and gas in the ground reduces everyone's risk, and tells the world we're serious about reducing our contribution to climate change.”