Drilling protest/celebration is just the beginning

DCC protest turns celebration

1 May 2019

We Made Them Cake!

What a great turnout on Monday at our OMV Unwelcome rally. OMV were planning to present their upcoming plans to drill in the Great South Basin in a closed meeting with Dunedin City and Otago Regional Councillors. But some of the Councillors said they would not go.

As a thank you to them, for standing alongside us and speaking up against OMV, we baked them a cake! ♥

Here’s what the Councillors said


  • Cr Deaker said he wanted to do “nothing to support or encourage any fossil fuel industry, in Otago or anywhere”. I want a wonderful future for our grandchildren and they won’t have that unless climate change is stopped.”
  • Cr Scott said he preferred to ”establish plans for the future, not the past.”
  • Cr Laws said he never makes “450km round trips to suit the interests of public relations promoters when they could just email their propaganda like most paid lobbyists do.”
  • Cr Ella Lawton said she would be going, to be informed, but was ”adamantly against” the plans.


  •  Cr Hawkins said he saw ”little value” in the briefing, as there was ”nothing they could say to convince me that the environmental and economic aspirations of our community are well served by more deep-sea drilling”.
  • Cr Damien Newell, said ”if I go, it will be in protest. The science is in – there’s nothing they can tell us. He said he was ”absolutely philosophically opposed to the offshore drilling”, which was just ”wilful and wanton damage for our environment and our planet. It’s just madness.”
  • Crs Garey and Jim O’Malley would attend, despite their opposition to drilling, to hear from the company, ask questions and express their concerns and those of the community. Cr O’Malley said ”If I don’t like the answer, I’m going to leave immediately.”

Mayor Cull is in China but last week wrote to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to reiterate the DCC was ”strongly opposed” to offshore drilling.

It’s a strange and wonderful thing to have elected councillors actually reflecting the will of so many of us, and speaking out. This is a far cry from the Anadarko days in 2013-14, when it seemed almost no one in power could see past the company spin.

Even so, we have the fight of our lives coming up, friends, against one of the biggest and most powerful companies in the world. OMV is one of 100 companies responsible for 70% of the world’s emissions.

Last week Dunedin was hailed as having the biggest uptake of private electric cars per capita in NZ; all those emissions savings mean nothing if we allow this company to drill off our coast.

We think OMV need to know about the proud history of peaceful civil disobedience in Aotearoa and we hope you will join us to teach them. When we see injustice, we act. Drilling for unburnable oil and gas is unjust and in Cr Newell’s words, just madness.

As summer approaches we hope to decorate Dunedin with a very clear message:

OMV: Keep Out of the Great South Basin

Please email oilfreeotago@gmail.com if you can help in any way. If you would like to donate to the campaign to kick OMV OUT of the GSB, please make a regular donation if you can. No matter how small,  a regular donation will help us build up people power to stop OMV in their tracks.



New to activism? Here’s a tip: if you’re a parent, you have exactly what it takes to become a climate activist: patience, endurance, dogged determination, good deduction skills and the ability to keep one step ahead of your opponent! Humour! If you’re not a parent then you’ve been a kid and will have all of those skills too, plus a youthful energy that can never be underestimated. ♥

Also coming up:

Friday 10 May 7pm – Film: Reluctant Radical at Knox Church 449 George St, Dunedin

Saturday 11 May 10am – Go Fossil Free Bank Challenge at the Dunedin Railway Station

Saturday 18 May 9:30am – Hands Across the Sand at St Clair Esplanade

Let’s end with the words of Mayor Cull in 2017: “The world is waking up. We can’t identify benefits of exploring for oil off our coast. We don’t have any kind of right to trade in our grandkids’ futures for a few pieces of silver now.”


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