"Radical and collective change" needed to stop drilling in Taranaki

By Tema Hemi
  • North Island: West Coast
  • Wellington

A Taranaki descendant is upset that the government has just opened up vast areas of the ancestral lands of hapū and iwi Māori in Taranaki to potential fracking.  His claims are being backed by Climate Justice Taranaki, who are also calling for a more radical and collective change to bring a complete stop to the oil and gas drilling in their area. 

Environmentalist Jack MacDonald wants to bring an end to any attempts to drill more than a 2,200 sq. area of his ancestral lands.

"I am sad and upset with the news that the government continues to allow for land drilling to occur in the Taranaki region," says MacDonald.

Climate Justice Taranaki spokesperson Urs Signa says a more radical and collective approach is needed. 

"To you, the government, stop being deceitful...there is a [desire for a] just-transition, to support issues that pertain to the environment, its workers, the community and tribes.  Refrain from issuing drilling permits," says Signa.

“We need radical and collective change to a low-carbon, circular economy that’s based on the principles of justice, equality and long-term survival."

Ngāti Ruanui will continue their stance.  This isn't the first time the iwi has been faced with drilling issues, they led the march against mining company Trans-Tasman Resources' seabed drilling off the coast of Pātea.

Chair of the Ngāti Ruanui Trusts Debbie Ngarewa Packer says, "It's whenua, that means the world to us.  It's among waterways, it's amongst tāonga that we want to look after forever.  The government and their bureaucrats are so behind the ball.  It stuns me how stupid they are with their approaches.  They lack the courage to show real leadership with policy and legislation."

 Minister of Energy and Resources Dr Megan Woods says the 2018 Block Offer has its benefits.  

"I think one of the things we have to think about is the 2018 Block Offer compared to block offers previously, this of course is a historic block offer because it does not include offshore oil and gas," says Woods.

MacDonald hopes to see  unity between hapū, iwi, and community to put an end to possible drilling permits.