Today oil free and clean energy campaigners from around the country have deployed a banner from the Dunedin Railway Station clock tower. The action comes as Anadarko’s drillship, the Noble Bob Douglas, leaves for the Gulf of Mexico after failing to discover any ‘significant’ oil or gas reserves off the coast of Otago.
Oil Free Otago spokesperson Rosemary Penwarden said “Regardless of Anadarko’s findings in New Zealand, our message remains the same. If we’re serious about climate change we have to stop burning fossil fuels, not keep looking for more. The stone age didn’t end because they ran out of stones, but because innovative, smarter alternatives were found.”
The campaigners say the banner message “TIME FOR CLEAN ENERGY” highlights the need for the government to invest in clean energy projects instead of deep sea oil and gas drilling. The group is made up of representatives from Oil Free Otautahi (Christchurch), Clean Energy Action (Nelson) and Greenpeace NZ.
Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Steve Abel said “As Anadarko skulk back to Texas, having failed to find oil, the Government’s mine, drill, frack economic strategy is failing badly. Rather than throwing tens of millions of taxpayer subsidies to foreign oil drillers the Government should be backing our own cutting-edge clean energy industry which can bring thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of value to our economy without risking an oil disaster.”
Clean Energy Action Nelson representative Verena Maeder said “Oil and gas have had their day, now it’s time to turn to clean energy. We have joined together for this action to show the government that we are united in our opposition to deepsea drilling in the seas of Aotearoa.”
NZ taxpayers spent $46 million last year subsidising the oil and gas industry (1). “These are some of the richest corporations in the world” said Siana Fitzjohn from Oil Free Otautahi. “Our government’s dream of economic salvation from oil and gas shows a complete lack of imagination. We should be spending that money on clean energy instead.”
Ms Penwarden said “It really comes down to what kind of future we want for Dunedin and New Zealand. A ‘business as usual’ future that leaves us at the mercy of foreign oil giants and locks us into being part of the climate change problem, or a future where we lead the world in providing the solutions. It’s time for a cleaner, smarter future and Dunedin could lead the way.”