Protesters gather in central Auckland to oppose oil conference

  • Auckland

Around 200 Greenpeace protesters have gathered outside the main entrances of Sky City in Auckland Central to oppose New Zealand's largest oil industry conference.

Inside the conference, Minister of Energy and Resources Simon Bridges will announce the 2016 Block Offers – the areas of New Zealand’s ocean that will be on the market for oil exploration this year.

Climate campaigner Steve Abel says despite years of public opposition and a failure to find any deep sea oil, John Key’s Government has continued to invest in the drilling that threatens our communities, coastlines and climate.

“We have a Government and an oil industry hell-bent on drilling for the very oil that must stay in the ground if we’re going to avoid climate change causing human catastrophe,” Abel says.

Protesters include Anglican Ministers, nurses, teachers and members of the Tuvaluan community, whose Islands are on the frontline of sea-level rise.

Delegates arriving at the conference will be forced to enter through basement entrances, step over people lining the pavement and navigate through a series of large red and white cards Greenpeace are calling “Oil Against Humanity”.

Last year, almost 430,000 square kilometres were opened up for potential drilling. Abel says that the oil industry can have no future if we are to have any future.

“It’s mad that John Key continues to prop it up. Climate change is the defining struggle of our generation and it needs to be dealt with now. We know that public participation is one of the most effective tools for creating change,” he says.