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Climate activists threatened with “draconian” Anadarko Amendment

Written By: - Date published: 6:36 am, February 1st, 2018 - 41 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, Economy, energy, Environment, sustainability - Tags: , , , ,

Greenpeace climate activists protested oil exploration yesterday:

Warrior support vessel as it arrives in port

Press release – January 31, 2018
Wednesday, 31 January:Greenpeace activists have boarded the support vessel of the world’s largest seismic blasting ship this morning,and locked themselves to it.

The Mermaid Searcher is in the Port of Taranaki to collect resupplies for the Amazon Warrior, a Schlumberger-owned 125-metre long ship, which is here on behalf of Austrian oil giant, OMV.

Greenpeace climate campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says the Amazon Warrior is blasting thousands of square kilometres of the New Zealand seabed in search of oil and gas that are fuelling climate change. The area is also a blue whale habitat and the whale’s only known feeding ground in New Zealand.

Full press release here. 


Second press release from greenpeace.org:

Press release – January 31, 2018
3-4 minutes

The controversial 2013 Amendment to the Crown Minerals Act makes it an offence to interfere with oil exploration ships at sea, and was passed under the National Government without public consultation or a Bill of Rights Act review. It was widely criticised by academics, Labour MPs, and activists alike, and seen as an attempt to stifle peaceful environmental protest against the oil industry.

Greenpeace climate campaigner, Amanda Larsson, calls the move “outrageous”.

“This is the oil branch of the Government threatening to use the draconian anti-protest laws passed by the last National Government to stop peaceful protest against oil exploration,” she says.

“It’s outrageous that under the new Labour-led Government, which has committed to bold climate leadership, the oil ministry would consider punishing climate activists using this anti-democratic law.”

“It was bad enough that the previous National Government used these laws against climate activists, but the supposedly climate-friendly new Labour Government shouldn’t be threatening climate activists with $50,000 fines and 12 months in jail for protesting the oil industry.”‘

At the time it was passed in 2013, Labour and the Greens strongly opposed the law. Many prominent New Zealanders condemned the amendment, including Dame Anne Salmond and former Labour Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Geoffrey Palmer QC, and other lawyers including the late Sir Peter Williams QC (1).

“With their commitment to climate action, the new Labour Government need to act now to reign in the Ministry of Oil, and more importantly, stop offshore exploration and drilling to fulfill our obligations to tackle climate change. We can’t afford to burn most of the known fossil fuel reserves if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change – searching for more makes no sense,” says Larsson.

“As well as stopping offshore oil exploration, the Ardern Government should repeal the Anadarko Amendment and protect the right to peacefully protest in a democratic society.

“These activists have put their bodies on the line to protect our future and our children’s future. If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need to urgently end oil exploration and stop pandering to the oil industry.”

In April last year, Greenpeace activists, including Executive Director Dr Russel Norman, swam in front of the Amazon Warrior, 60 nautical miles off the Wairarapa coast, stopping it from seismic blasting for the day.

The activists and Greenpeace were charged for the first time in New Zealand history by MBIE under the Anadarko Amendment. They face a year in jail and up to $300,000 in collective fines. They have pleaded Not Guilty and will face trial in April.


41 comments on “Climate activists threatened with “draconian” Anadarko Amendment ”

  1. Anon 1

    Since the offence took place aboard a foreign vessel does that mean the attorney general has given consent to bring proceedings? (101B (9) of the act): http://legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1991/0070/latest/DLM5237809.html?search=ts_act%40bill%40regulation%40deemedreg_crown+minerals+act_resel_25_a&p=1

  2. Pat 2

    While agreeing with the sentiment there are likely contractural issues with cancelling oil/gas exploration….I assume OMV have paid for the exploration rights and to cancel will carry penalties, along with the implications of the signals it sends….those costs would need to weighed against the likelyhood of any successfully oil/gas development.

    • weka 2.1

      and also weighed against the damage the oil exploration is doing (whales etc), and might do (are they permitted to drill?).

      • Pat 2.1.1

        that as well..as to drilling i suspect so provided they meet certain preconditions

        Im unsure whether the exploration permits have time limit and what it might be i dont know but the course of action may be to simply let them expire and not renew if so.

        • Pat

          Petroleum exploration permits
          Exploration permits grant the holder the right to identify petroleum deposits and evaluate the feasibility of mining any discoveries. Allowed activities include geological and geophysical surveying, exploration and appraisal drilling, and testing of petroleum discoveries.

          Petroleum exploration permits are only allocated through then annual Petroleum Block Offer. The estate is divided into a graticular grid where the size limits are defined by NZP&M in the Block Offer’s Invitation for Bids.

          An exploration permit is awarded to enable research into where commercially recoverable reserves of oil and gas may be. Exploration activities can include sampling, aeromagnetic surveys, geological studies, compiling reports and seismic surveys and well drilling.

          Permits are issued for up to 15 years, depending on the permit location. It is possible to get an extension of up to four years for appraisal purposes – a second four-year extension is also possible.

          Permits are exclusive, and carry subsequent rights to apply for a mining permit.

          Once operators are granted a permit they must arrange consents before they proceed with any exploration activity.

          For an overview of the consents required read our guide to the Government management of petroleum

      • Pat 2.1.3

        to clarify…when I said weigh against successful oil/gas development I meant the odds are unlikely we will see further development given the likely future for certainly oil but even gas (given our distance from major markets) and the relatively unsuccessful nature of previous exploration

  3. Andy 3

    This is probably an act of piracy and should be treated as such.

    These “activists” can #EndOil by staying at home and not using it

  4. Jum 4

    Any vessel in NZ waters is subject, surely, Labour Government, to the right of Kiwi protestors to protest, when concerned about its activities regarding the environment?

    National tried to use the excuse of protestor safety for its legislation to prosecute. The protestors are on a boat. It is not sinking.

    We already know that the car carrying paula bennet and driver chester burrows managed to ram into a TPP protestor on land recently and they got away without liability while their own national party was in government . Water has little to do with safety for protestors.
    Safety has more to do with respect for dissent by government and business on land or sea.

    Protest in NZ whether on land or sea is a human right. I expect the Labour Government to respect that and legislate to make it so. Loss of protest rights leads to loss of hope; we’ve only just gained hope back again.

  5. Andy 5

    It isn’t a human right to board a vessel without permission. It is piracy, which is a crime

  6. Bill 6

    Warned (by the police) that they may be charged under the Anadarko Amendment…by the Ministry of Oil. So not the police. Hmm. So how’s that work? Anyone?

    All good for spin mind. 🙂

    • weka 6.1

      My understanding is that they were warned by the police when they turned up to arrest them.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1

        From Greenpeace’s press release:

        Police have warned climate activists currently locked onto an offshore oil exploration support ship in the Port of Taranaki that officials from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) are travelling from Wellington to charge them under the ‘Anadarko Amendment’.

        Russel Norman, Sara May Howell and Gavin Mulvay will be in court in April. I hope this will give the courts a chance to throw the legislation out as a breach of the BoRA.

      • Bill 6.1.2

        Yeah, I’m taking it from a Greenpeace tweet that’s in the post. My point is that it’s the police who lay charges. No-one else. Others can only request that charges be laid – as I understand such things.

        If the Ministry for Oil is somehow charging them, then I’m asking how that works.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          From the act:

          The chief executive may appoint 1 or more persons who are employees of a government department, a Crown entity, or a local authority to exercise 1 or more of the powers and perform the functions conferred on enforcement officers under this Act…

          An enforcement officer who has reasonable cause to suspect that a person is committing, has committed, or is attempting to commit an offence against section 101B may do 1 or more of the following things…

          “(a)stop a ship within a specified non-interference zone and detain the ship:

          “(b)remove any person or ship from a specified non-interference zone:

          “(c)prevent any person or ship from entering a specified non-interference zone:

          “(d)board a ship (whether within a specified non-interference zone or otherwise), give directions to the person appearing to be in charge, and require the person to give his or her name and address:

          “(e)without warrant, arrest a person.

          Looks like a massive abuse of executive power if you ask me.

          • weka

            Bloody hell. Thanks for that.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Without checking, I was wondering whether the Mermaid Searcher (aka Mermaid McFossilFuelFace) was actually specified as a “non-interference zone”.

              So I checked (pdf), and ‘she’ isn’t mentioned by name.

              That said, I’d much rather this piece of executive over-reach was smashed in the Supreme Court and then repealed with extreme prejudice by the House, than fall over on a technicality.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      I think (from reading the legislation) that the MBIE officials are “enforcement officers” under the act. They’re required to “cause the person [ie: the protesters] to be delivered into the custody of a constable as soon as practicable.”

      This is a “summary offence” so will be a judge-only trial.

  7. Chuck 7

    As Labour and the Greens are now the Government (with that nice Mr. Peters) we should expect to see this piece of legislation binned under urgency then.

    At least no one stole Russel Normans flag this time 🙂

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      I’ve been trying to figure out whether NZF opposed the amendment in the House. If not, the government won’t have the numbers. That said, the CEO could always simply ‘forget’ to appoint any enforcement officers.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      Ok, so Brendan Horan moved that the Bill be sent to select committee on 6th April 2013 (in the context of National trying to force it through under urgency).

      National, Act, UF and the Māori Party voted “no”. The Greens, Labour and NZF voted ‘yes’.

      So that looks like NZF were opposed, maybe.

  8. Ed 8

    When is New Zealand going to wake up?
    Whilst this happens, our country is being battered by floods, cyclones, tidal surges, droughts, heatwaves….


    Before it is too late.

    In 1939 a war economy was established to win World War 2.
    People made sacrifices.
    There was rationing.
    People worked together.
    Across party lines.

    For their children.
    And their grandchildren.

    Why can’t we follow their example?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.

      People worked together.
      Across party lines.

      Well, at first, Stalin and Hitler were mates, so that’s an example of people working together across party lines. The “Liberals” (we tar all “centrists” with the same brush, eh) put aside their differences to defeat a common enemy.

      But the metaphor is faulty. The fascists wanted to do their thing, Stalin wanted to get approval from his mummy, or whatever, but we’re all doing this existential threat (of AGW) together, and we didn’t mean it in the first place.

      How can we defeat stupidity?

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