Auckland Council votes against offshore drilling (New Zealand)

Auckland Council’s Governing Body in New Zealand has voted to oppose the proposed offering of petroleum exploration permit applications in the Northland-Reinga and Taranaki Basins, in its submission on the matter to the government.

According to a statement on Friday, in a lengthy debate on the economic merits and environmental effects of oil exploration, the Governing Body voted in favor of an amendment to oppose the offering and issuing of prospecting, exploration and drilling permits in 2017.

The Governing Body cited the potential effects on the Maui dolphin and its habitat, impacts on climate change and the negligible overall economic benefits for Auckland.

Greenpeace has said that the vote saw 14 councilors including, new Mayor Phil Goff, pass an amendment to oppose oil prospecting, exploration, and drilling in New Zealand, while seven councilors voted in support of it.

Greenpeace campaigner, Steve Abel, says the win is historic and decisive, and sends a clear signal that the John Key Government’s oil agenda is not supported.

“This is a massive result. It means two of the biggest councils in the country have now come out in strong defiance of the Government’s climate-destroying policy of searching for the oil we can’t burn if we are to have a future for our children,” he says.

“If the Government does not pay attention to this it would be an insult to democracy, it would expose the consultation as a sham, and it would be straight up climate denial.”

In the event of the government proceeding with the issuing of permits, it was requested that a number of mitigation measures be followed.

Auckland Council said it would also seek the Government’s assurance that, in the event of an oil spill, full emergency response systems are in place and that the polluter responsible will bear the entire financial liability for the incident, including any and all costs associated with environmental mitigation.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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