New Zealand: Celebrities join protests against deep sea drilling

September 14, 2013

New Zealand celebrities have joined protests against proposed law changes that will remove the right of public consultation on applications for deep sea oil and gas drilling. Law changes will also remove the right to protest at sea.

Actors Sam Neill, Lucy Lawless and Robyn Malcolm, former Supreme Court judge Sir Ted Thomas and many others have joined Maori and environmental groups to condemn the government’s plans.

The proposal was introduced to the Marine Legislation Bill now before parliament. This means public consultation that normally occurs with law changes through a parliamentary select committee process would not happen.

Many people are concerned the plans put the country at risk from the same catastrophe caused by BP's 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 crewmen and sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the sea for 87 days.

New Zealand Greens MP Gareth Hughes said: “Deep sea drilling should be a prohibited activity given that, if there is a leak from a deep sea oil rig, the consequences for New Zealand’s environment, economy and reputation would be catastrophic.”

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