New Zealand Greens launch plan to ban deep sea oil drilling

The Green Party has launched its plan to protect New Zealand beaches from oil spills.

Green Party Co leader Dr Russel Norman

The plan is the second component of the Party’s environmental priority this election: Rivers clean enough to swim in again, and beaches safe from oil spills.

The key policy points in the Green Party’s plan to protect the beaches from oil spills are to:

– Prohibit deep sea oil drilling;

– Implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping;

– Build Maritime New Zealand’s oil spill response capability; and

– Introduce a stronger legal framework so that when accidents do happen, the New Zealand taxpayer does not have to pay for the clean-up.

“New Zealanders love our beaches and want them open for swimming, not closed for oil spills,” Green Party Co leader Dr Russel Norman said.

“Catching a wave or a fish, building a sandcastle, or just lying about on a beach is a Kiwi birthright, but National is risking these age old Kiwi pleasures by exposing our beaches to the risk of oil spills.

“Not only has National failed to take steps to protect New Zealand from another shipping accident like the Rena, but it has made an oil spill in New Zealand more likely by opening up New Zealand to the risks of deep sea drilling.

“The Greens in Government will protect our beaches by keeping the deep sea oil genie in the bottle. There are no deep sea wells in New Zealand, so now is the time to prohibit the practice.

“Like New Zealand chose to go nuclear free, we can add to our national environmental identity by also being deep sea oil free.

“It’s a well-established fact that when it comes to offshore drilling, the deeper you go, the greater the risk.

“When we look to the Gulf of Mexico, we see that for shallow water oil drilling 1 in 272 wells has had a spill. That number increases to 1 in 35 wells for deep sea drilling and to 1 in 19 wells for ultra-deep sea drilling. It’s just not worth exposing our beaches to those kinds of odds.

“National is expanding its risky deep sea drilling programme despite knowing that New Zealand does not have the equipment to deal with an underwater spill: papers released to the Green Party show that Maritime New Zealand ‘does not have a subsea response capability’.

“Deep sea drilling is not worth the risk. While there may be some economic benefits to deep sea drilling, they don’t justify risking a huge spill that could cost us billions.

“There are smarter, greener ways of creating jobs here in New Zealand.

“Protecting New Zealand from oil spills is an investment in our clean, green image and the export revenue that our reputation generates.

“Perhaps even more importantly, the Green Party’s plan to stop deep sea drilling helps avoid catastrophic climate change.

“The Green Party is the only political party in Parliament saying no to deep sea drilling in favour of a truly clean energy future for New Zealand.

“The Green Party won’t risk our environment, economy, identity, and way of life for the sake of deep sea drilling. We will create a clean, green economy which benefits everyone.

“When Kiwis go to the polls on September 20 they have a stark choice – National’s pollution economy or a smarter, cleaner future for New Zealand,” Dr Norman said.

Dr Norman said that in the run up to the election, the Green Party would announce further policy in its three priorities area: 1) rivers clean enough to swim in again, and beaches safe from oil spills, 2) ensuring every child has enough to thrive; and 3) a smarter greener economy that benefits every New Zealander.

Press Release, July 28, 2014

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