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Protest at sea

Written By: - Date published: 9:07 am, June 16th, 2013 - 44 comments
Categories: activism, Conservation, International, labour, national - Tags: ,

Labour government 1973:
National government 2013:


44 comments on “Protest at sea”

  1. Poneke 1

    Ah, those were the days when there was still hope for this nation,
    before we were reduced to profit and loss signs on a desperate
    gimlet-eyed accountant’s balance sheet;

    Those were the days when people still cared about ideas, and were
    prepared to put their bodies in the way of Police batons on the street;

    Those were they days when advanced weapons posed existential
    problems for humanity – to quote Netanyahu mangling Sartre;

    Those weapons still exist, but are no help in a civil war, or in
    resolving human complexities;

    We can still draw inspiration from those days – which made
    NZ what it is today, a legacy mined by quick-buck merchants from
    fantasy factories and trading floors.

    • LynWiper 1.1

      Those were the days my friend.
      Thanks for this posting, and your comment Poneke.

    • Jenny 1.2

      $100,000 fine for groups and $50,000 fine for individuals for interfering in the operation of oil exploration vessels

      And $10,000 fine for any protester coming within half kilometre of such vessels.

      On top of all these extraordinary fines and concurrent with them is a two year jail sentence.

      Last year Lucy Lawless climbed the drill tower of an oil exploration ship in New Plymouth Harbour, impeding that vessel’s voyage to the Arctic.

      She would still be in jail now if John Key’s vicious new anti-protester laws had been enacted then.

      Would New Zealanders put up with this?


      If these anti-protester laws had been enacted at the time of the anti-nuclear ship protests…..

      Every schooner passenger, every whaler rowing crew, every little P class and Optimist sailor, every fizz boat and runabout skipper, every kayak and surfboard rider, that dare impede those nuclear armed vessels would have seen dozens if not hundreds of men women and children locked up in jail.

      As well as all the huge fines ruining the lives of hundreds of New Zealand families.

      If we wouldn’t accept that then, why would we tolerate this level of repression in this day and age?

      • Robert M 1.2.1

        A number of points could be made. The Bridge’s bill is mainly to stop interference with exploration for oil and gas resources which may make all the difference to NZ’s future as did North Sea Oil to the UK economy from the late 1970’s. Because Lucy Lawless in a TV star and daugter of an Auckland suburban mayor dosen’t make her a beacon of rationality. Many established movie stars, even ones over 25 can be extraordinarily bad girls both politically and socially. Think Redgrave or Rampling who rightly and possibly wrongly are seen as pin up girls for the hard marxist left or even the extreme right. Lawless film career could be regarded as alternative. she is definitely a gay icon and she actually appears in a number of hard core pornographic magazines, with pages of photos of her naked bed romps.
        In terms of the protest against the visit of the USN Pintado and Haddo it is true that they would have definitely carried nuclear armed Subroc missiles, at that time to get fast certain response against very fast and dangerous US Soviet subs that couldn’t be stopped any other way in 1977 and possibly even now if they have be destroyed within 5 minutes. Running the Waikato thru the protest fleet at 30 knots with Wasp helicopters creating downforce to clear the protest yachts from the path of the US attack subs was probably the correct and only course given the nuclear powered and armed submarine has poor handling on the surface and the embarrasment for the National Govt of Muldoon would have been terminal in the eyes of Washington and US Govt and authorities if it had been stopped with who knows what consequences.

        • Lloyd

          If we find a North Sea size petroleum resource and actually get it out and burn it, that will really make a difference. It will probably push the world average temperature up another half a degree and we will probably have a desert covering Northland within a few decades.

          Leave it in the ocean. It will be cheaper than trying to suck the carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere.

          All this seems a good reason to protest against any off-shore oil exploration, totally ignoring the potential for horrendous oil slicks from probable blow-outs at least an ocean away from the high tech teams who capped that well off in the Gulf of Mexico so quickly……. Oh sorry they were totally incompetent and the shores of Louisiana are still contaminated.

          You may also note that Maggie Thatcher used the ‘benefit’ of North Sea oil to destroy the National Union of Mineworkers. The benefits of North Sea oil have basically been squandered by successive UK governments when compared to Norway – which would be a far better example for your argument Robert.

          The oil rig that Lucy Lawless tried to stop leaving NZ ended up drifting out of control for a while in the Arctic Ocean within a few months of leaving NZ. My understanding is that a significant mess was only avoided by good luck and good weather while the rig was out of control. I think the protest against the rig was completely justified. Go Lucy!

          Anyone seen the naked photos of Robert?

  2. A lot can change over 480 months but the ethos that drove that ship out to that zone in the pacific is still alive and will be seen when they start their exploitation around these fair isles – count on it.

    • LynWiper 2.1

      Your positivity and assurances help the weary marty mars. It’s good to live in hope, just hard to sustain it sometimes.

    • Tiger Mountain 2.2

      Kia Ora Poneke and Marty Mars.
      The Kirk government was the last NZ one I have ever felt truly proud and supportive of despite Norm’s unimplemented “take the bikes off the bikies” (bikers) populism.

      Imagine the Nats funding Ohu, haha.Great post above.

      When big Norm died, medically undercared for as a Prime Minister, on the occasion of his funeral our boss said take the day off if you want, and most of us did! I used to drive to the South Auckland plant every day for years down Hugh Watt Drive adjacent to Onehunga and reflect on the Kirk years.

    • weka 2.3

      Ae, agreed Marty. The stakes have just been upped, but the players are still in the game.

  3. mac1 3

    And proud of our government and our nation’s stance.

    It was a good feeling to be aligned with others in the community across purely political boundaries in a common agreement that gave voice and visible expression to our beliefs that nuclear war and bomb testing were madness.

    In another thread, there has been discussion of the role and ethos of the baby boomers. As one of those and aged twelve in 1962, I still remember the dread I felt during the Cuban missile crisis as the madness looked like taking hold. From CND, to anti-Vietnam protests, to protesting Omega stations (who remembers that?), to anti-tour protests- they were the events which informed our youth.

    And several of those battles we won. The protests and intellectual arguments against Omega saw off that monstrosity of Cold War. It taught me that political battles and campaigns can be won. Hope can be assured of coming through. There is still that hope.

    I still have that hope. But I don’t have that same sense of pride today. It needs more than a 30 to nil victory over the French at rugby!

  4. Wayne 4

    I realise that this post is about the broader issues than the immediate size of the exclusion zone. However, it is worth noting that it is never legal for a protest to unduly interfere with the rights of others, that is, to the point of preventing them carrying out their lawful activity.

    As I have said before there is a big difference between 500m on land and 500m at sea, especially when large ships are involved, which cannot easily maneuver.

    One of the other differences is that a 500m exclusion on land could be enough to effectively prevent a lawful protest, (as was the case with the 1999 protests against the Chinese President), but at sea a protest within 500m is completely apparent.

    The protest itself is not prevented, but it is really an issue of proximity. This does seem a legitimate safety issue.

    I also would be surprised if Labour would actually repeal this legislation, though they might reduce the size of the exclusion zone to say 250m, but this would have to be based on safety advice.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      However, it is worth noting that it is never legal for a protest to unduly interfere with the rights of others, that is, to the point of preventing them carrying out their lawful activity.

      Which means that the law is wrong because protests are about people trying to prevent others from affecting them in ways that they don’t like.

      This does seem a legitimate safety issue.

      No, it seems like dictatorial types getting upset that they can’t have things the way they want.

      • Populuxe1 4.1.1

        Do you have an ocean going license, Draco, or are you making things up to suit yourself as per usual?

      • Wayne 4.1.2

        Draco, Are you really suggesting that law should allow that people to be able to stop other people’s lawful activities. Isn’t that virtually an invitation to anarchy?

        Now obviously you don’t like mining (at least in this context), so I guess you would say thats OK because I support this cause.

        But what if a pro coal mining group wanted to disrupt a Greenpeace meeting on the issue, to the point of preventing the meeting from taking place, say by peacefully blocking all the doors to the meeting. Do you really think that level of disruption should be a lawful activity.

        Presently people know that would be unlawful, so by and large they do not do that. If they do, they know there are consequences, in practical terms typically a modest fine and the inconvenience of being arrested. But what if they knew they could act in such a way with legal impunity?

        • chris73

          Draco, Are you really suggesting that law should allow that people to be able to stop other people’s lawful activities. Isn’t that virtually an invitation to anarchy?

          – As long as its a left wing protest then that’s ok.

        • Pascal's bookie

          The problem I have with this argument Wayne is that these sorts of things are already illegal, are they not?

          The line where protest moves to civil disobedience is fairly clear cut, and activists generally know it. When they cross that line they usually accept that they are putting themselves in legal jeopardy. It’s the point of civil disobedience that you get arrested, in many respects.

          What this law does is shift that line back to make what was normal protest, civil disobedience. It assumes that what was normal protest is actually over the line and that protesters intend to cross that line so arrest them before they hit that line, if you like. Sort of ‘Pre-crime’.

          If that’s not the point of it, ( to make what was legitimate protest, civil disobedience) then what is it?

        • lprent

          Presently people know that would be unlawful, so by and large they do not do that. If they do, they know there are consequences, in practical terms typically a modest fine and the inconvenience of being arrested.

          There is the converse of that of course… When the police arrest and charge an are unable to make their case. What they have done is to deprive someone of their lawful ability to protest.

          In my experience the police are complete retards when it comes to the law on protesting and civil disobedience actions. Most protesters obey the actual enforceable laws pretty religiously and consequently most arrest cases get thrown out either in district court or by the time they hit the appeal to the High Court.

          In fact the only reason that the police take most of the cases is because they never wind up carrying the court costs of their hopeless and failed charges.

          So lets take the inverse of your argument. We should change the law to deter the police from unlawful arrests and charging. Since that is the same standard you expect from protesters, then shouldn’t the police be expected to at least meet the same standard?

          Rather than the current state of anarchy where the police arrest on bogus charges, run their victims through court for years, and when the courts finally shoot their inadequate case down the police wander away to do the same stupid thing again. The dozens of Operation 8 victims being a good example. But in all cases the police have managed to cost people legally protesting with an extra-legal punishment of years in court.

          We should give the judges an ability to levy costs against the police as part of any judgement against them, and make the lack of any such judgment automatic grounds for appeal against not awarding it. I’d suggest making it related directly to the size of the possible fine – in this case 10k. It’d probably help considerably improve the police’s (and other bodies) decision making about when to arrest.

          • Rogue Trooper

            been reminded of Police response to peaceful protest on the footage of all these protests happening simultaneously around the world now, laying into people moving on with batons.
            absolute bs.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Draco, Are you really suggesting that law should allow that people to be able to stop other people’s lawful activities.

          Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that it’s right.

          In this case the majority of people are probably against the action that the government has allowed. In such a situation the government should then disallow that action. It’s part of peoples right to govern themselves rather than being dictated to.

          I’m saying that the people should have been asked first. If they don’t get asked then the government gets protests.

        • Lloyd

          What’s wrong with a little anarchy? Isn’t anarchy the basis of the “center-right” philosophy?

          • Colonial Viper

            Hmmmm it’s a wee bit incongruous with the born-to-rule authoritarianism the Right Wing secretly hold dear

    • Tiger Mountain 4.2

      Needn’t be a dick all your life Wayne. Explore the broader issues like the safety record of offshore oil rigs and the breakdown of the social contract and citizens rights under neo liberalism. The image and text above portrays a lot.

      • Wayne 4.2.1

        You have not answered my point on the scope of the law of protest, just made a general critique of “neo liberalism”. Obviously we have different views on that.

        But on the specific point of the oil industry is it your view the oil industry in Taranaki (at least the offshore part) should be closed down?

        • Macro

          ” is it your view the oil industry in Taranaki (at least the offshore part) should be closed down?”
          that was not the point either!
          The point is that you and your unthinking lot have enacted a piece of highly restrictive law that is excessively punitive and designed to restrict legitimate protest at sea solely for the purpose of pissing in the pockets of oil companies – and that sir is immoral and undemocractic in the extreme.

          • marty mars

            + 1 exactly correct Macro – they chuck out the red herrings but the truth is in the words you have written and their reasons for the pissing in the pockets have nothing to do with this country or the people living and working here.

    • framu 4.3

      Its also worth noting wayne that this is a specific law targeted not just at one industry but a sub set of one industry, and that it was quite obviously developed in a (untill recently) secret meeting with that industry. Add in that the armed forces are now being roped in to arrest and detain NZ citizens and that theres questions about jurisdiction and its one rather big clusterfuck of a law.

      Why does one portion of one industry get special treatment?

      All this health and safety issues and/or permitting lawful activity, is just a smokescreen. If these were the issues the law wouldnt be so narrow in its focus

      Its unbelievably dishonest for someone in your position to try out such diversion – shame on you

      As ive said before of people with your background – your either bullshitting or so uninformed as to not be credible

  5. Rogue Trooper 5


  6. Populuxe1 6

    Ah yes, those were the days… When Kiwis had the right to go out on the high seas and get themselves irradiated if they wanted to. Dammit, if you don’t have the right to bequeath horrible birth defects on to your children and die a horrible lingering cancer death, what is the world coming to?

  7. Jenny 7

    I also would be surprised if Labour would actually repeal this legislation, though they might reduce the size of the exclusion zone to say 250m, but this would have to be based on safety advice.


    Going on their past record, and current insipid performance in opposition. Unfortunately Wayne is probably right.

    But despite Labour’s weakness, all is not lost. New Zealand’s unique water borne protests have proven to be powerful and effective.

    They saw off the last Nuclear ship visit long before the Labour Party got around to making it law in 1987 (three years after they promised) and after Labour’s dismal failed attempt to break the blockade using the USS Buchanon. And Lange’s statement undermining this country’s moral argument against nuclear weapons by saying New Zealand’s anti nuclear status, “was not for export”.

    The power of seaborne protest has recently been confirmed again.

    Te Whanau a Apanui and Greenpeace working together have driven off Petrobras and defeated the government’s plans for Deep Sea Oil exploration off the East Coast.

    They won’t be back.

    After this defeat the government have strengthened the penalties and switched their field of operations to the West Coast of Northland and off the Taranaki Coast, if that fails, possibly even moving to New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic Southern Ocean.

    The government know their weakness and are afraid.

    When the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was in New Zealand recently. The authorities tried to ban it from entering Lyttleton Harbour. The Warrior had been booked into the Lyttleton slipway for routine hull cleaning. Despite being booked in, the authorities refused to let the Rainbow Warrior even enter the harbour to make their appointment.

    In negotiations with the authorities Greenpeace were told that the government were frightened that Greenpeace would use the visit to blockade the coal export ships that leave from that leave from Lyttleton.

    To get this vital routine maintenance done Greenpeace had to give powerful assurances and legally binding promises that they would not engage in leading any protest actions against the export coal trade while they were inside the harbour.

  8. chris73 8

    In negotiations with the authorities Greenpeace were told that the government were frightened that Greenpeace would use the visit to blockade the coal export ships that leave from that harbour.

    To get this vital routine maintenance done Greenpeace had to give powerful assurances and legally binding promises that they would not engage in leading any protest actions against the export coal trade while they were inside the harbour.

    – was there a decent chance they would: yes so fair enough from the government

  9. I think that this law needs to be challenged through the World Court, just as France was challenged over the Rainbow Warrior, and nuclear weapons were challenged. John Key shouldn’t get away with violating international law. If anyone is charged in NZ, they should take it directly to the World Court and demand compensation from the New Zealand government.

    • Wayne 9.1

      There is no standing for an induividual to take a case to the International Court of Justice. It is essentially for state to state disputes. For instance NZ took France to the ICJ over nuclear weapons.

      • kiwicommie 9.1.1

        It wouldn’t be individuals, it would be in a sense the international community against New Zealand – as if it was ever enforced New Zealand would be breaking international agreements it has already signed over the sea. It would be interesting to see National attempt to apply it, especially if you are under the flag of another country.

  10. infused 10

    I really can’t see an issue here. Do you want to get killed or something? 2013 Darwin awards up for grabs.

    • felix 10.1

      Bit “nanny state” of you, infused.

      What other potentially dangerous activities do you want to ban? Skiing? Skating? Rock-climbing? Sky-diving?

      If not, why not?

    • Macro 10.2

      not much vision have you infused? can’t see much at all really… unless you trip over it.

  11. Jenny 11

    Greenpeace have been circulating this Youtube video of photographer John Wathen’s eyewitness account of the ongoing Deep Water Horizon Disaster.

    It is a must see.


    Wathen claims that New Zealand’s planned Deep Sea Oil Drilling programme is even more reckless than that in the Gulf of Mexico.

    He also says that though he can’t promise that a similar disaster to the Deep Water Horizon will happen in New Zealand. What he did say is that no oil field to date has not had a major mishap of some kind.

  12. Jenny 12

    Stuff.co.nz carries a report on the Bill McKibben talk:

    Bill McKiebben’s final message to New Zealanders, is that government’s won’t do it. And that citizens may have to defy the government and even be prepared to risk imprisonment to cut back fossil fuel extraction and use.

    McKibben finished off his presentation first by telling us something we already know, that we shouldn’t have needed to be there last night, because this problem is real, it’s obvious, yet our world leaders are not leading the way to a very nice future.

    It brings an Ansel Adams quote to mind: “It’s horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.” It is horrifying. It’s sad. It should be unnecessary. But it’s become our reality, and all we can do now is band together and fight.

    Are we going to win?

    McKibben can’t guarantee it. It’s already too late, we’ve already done a lot of damage, but it’s encouraging to see the amount of people waking up and getting involved because together we can move mountains. Together, we can change the world and give our children, grandchildren, and further future generations a bright, healthy place to live where they will be happy and won’t have to fight to simply survive.

    I’m going to fight, who’s going to join me?

    SARAH HARDIE for stuff.co.nz

    The truth of Bill McKibben’s words are borne out in this country, both National and Labour support Deep Sea Oil drilling and other forms of extreme and dangerous Hydrocarbon extraction. And as Lynn Prentice says even the Greens won’t risk their political capital to defy them. lprent calls this politics 101. It could be more correctly called room 101.

    Bill McKidden is right;: ” “It’s horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.” It is horrifying. It’s sad. It should be unnecessary. But it’s become our reality, and all we can do now is band together and fight.”

    “You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.”

    O’Brian 1984

    Climate Change is the worst thing in the world. It is up to us to stop it.

  13. I complained to the Human Rights Commission about the Simon Bridges amendments to the Crown Mineral (Permitting and Crown Land)Bill regarding ones right to peaceful protest at sea.

    The H.R.C. came back to me and said that whilst the area of law that this affects is complex, on the surface there HAS been a breach of New Zealand’s statutory obligations.

    I think Amnesty International New Zealand have included it in their submission to the United Nation Universal Periodic Review of human rights in New Zealand, which is due in 2014.

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    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago