The Government is putting Auckland's popular and pristine west coast beaches at risk of an oil spill from dangerous deep sea drilling, the Green Party said today.
"The upper West coast of the North Island is postcard New Zealand. It is where Kiwis go to swim, fish and holiday. There should be no risky deep sea drilling in New Zealand, especially in these much loved waters," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
The Green Party is condemning the Government for announcing the tender process today for new permits to conduct exploratory deep sea drilling in New Zealand waters off the west coast of the North Island and the east coast of the South Island. Much of the area is in deep water.
"The Government's argument of an economic boon are rubbish. There is little evidence that there would be many jobs from these deep sea rigs and they put at risk the local economies if there is a spill.
"With deep sea drilling the Government is pursuing a failed economic agenda that runs totally counter to our real economic advantages and opportunities.
"We should be investing in geothermal and renewable energy. We can be world leaders in the areas people look up to us in, not followers in dangerous oil drilling that is looked down upon.
"Exploratory drilling may sound harmless, but exploratory drilling is the riskiest phase of oil development. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster was from an exploratory well.
"If there is a leak from a deep sea oil rig there is no easy way to stop it. The consequence for New Zealand's environment, economy and reputation would be catastrophic," said Mrs Turei.