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May 21, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Drill Baby Drill

Democracy worth less than black-gold

he Government is set to go ahead with plans to drill for oil off Wellington’s southeast coast, despite a lack of consultation and concerns over possible environmental disasters.

It’s about to call for competitive tenders on two blocks in the Pegasus Basin, south of Wairarapa. As the basin is more than 12 nautical miles offshore, neither Wellington City Council nor Greater Wellington regional council have been consulted— though local Iwi groups were.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes has condemed the decision, saying the risk of a rig blowout is too great, and that Wellingtonians should have been consulted.

“Given it’s our councils who are going to be cleaning it up, and it’s going to be Wellington citizens who could one day see oil washing up on our beaches, it’s a big deal and one that the Government should listen to the people about,” he said. Wellington Central Labour MP, Grant Robertson has echoed this, saying that the Government was hiding “behind some legal niceties.”

“It is possible for people to contact the Ministry for Economic Development and let them know their views but the Government’s got a responsibility to actually consult with people,” Robertson said. The Labour party will be collecting signatures for a petition protesting the drilling.

Exploration permits would allow for deep- sea drilling of up to 2750 metres in places. For comparison, Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico was 1500 metres and the deepest well off the Taranaki coast was 120 metres.

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