The Christchurch City Council showed awesome support in the anti-deep sea oil drilling campaign last year, with a strong proposal calling the government to not sell off our oceans. This year, we are calling for the Council to continue to show their support, and to help us Block the Offer and say no to deep sea oil drilling off our coast!
Why is this important?
We ask that the Christchurch City Council continue to advocate for both current and future generations by holding their position of opposition to Deep Sea Oil prospecting and drilling. Oil companies have been given the right to prospect for oil around the coast of Canterbury. Consultations about Deep Sea Oil permits are with Iwi, Hapu and Local Authorities.
There are many concerns about Deep Sea Oil prospecting and drilling. The seismic surveying used to identify resources in the sea bed is known to be harmful, even fatal, to marine life and to mammals such as whales and dolphins in particular. This is especially of concern to the Canterbury region, as the Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal Sanctuary is incredibly close to the areas included in the Block Offer.
If oil is found and drilling starts there will be significant risks to our harbours and coastline. The wells would be significantly deeper than the one in the Gulf of Mexico, which took months to close off when there was an oil spill, and devastated the ecology and the economy of the coastal area. We must not let this happen here. The Rena disaster demonstrated how unprepared New Zealand is for a major oil spill.
Peak Oil is already here so we have to switch to different ways of living anyway. It is prudent to use the resources which are available now to move towards alternatives.
The effects of Climate Change are already being experienced and it is now fully accepted that we have to change our oil dependent lifestyles. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of ' irreversible and dangerous' changes to the climate if the use of fossil fuels continues. Climate scientists have indicated that we must act now to avoid catastrophic climate change. It is unjustifiable to risk environmental and ecosystem damage to search for a fuel that cannot be safely used without jeopardising the future.
Oil production is not economically sustainable (extraction of a finite resource the use of which contributes to climate change could never be sustainable in any way) nor would oil production contribute at all to our local economy other than to have a potentially huge adverse impact if an accident did occur.
Oil exploration, both in terms of the immediate risk of an oil spill but also in terms of the contribution to climate change, endangers fishing – customary, commercial or recreational. Oil exploration therefore risks our economy but also people's well being. For generations people have lived off the abundance of the sea, for Tangata Whenua this is especially important as the sea is their food basket.
We ask that the Christchurch City Council advocate for the people and communities they serve by continuing to make a public statement of opposition to Deep Sea Oil exploration and that they express their opposition generally and on any occasion that they are consulted on this topic.
We need to take real climate action now and say NO to deep water drilling.