Wednesday, 04 May 2011 | Press Release
The Government confirmed today
that New Zealanders will carry full financial liability and responsibility for containment and clean up
if there is a catastrophic oil spill in deep water off the Canterbury Coast, said the Green Party.
“The Government’s eagerness to open our coasts to the risk of catastrophic oil spills is reckless and frightening,” said Green Party Co Leader Metiria Turei.
Anadarko Petroleum of Texas, who owned a stake in the Deepwater Horizon well that leaked oil into the Gulf of Mexico for three months, are planning to drill an exploratory well at the same depth in the Canterbury Basin before the end of the year.
In response to oral questions in the House today, Acting Minister of Energy and Resources Hekia Parata stated that the Government will not require a bond from Anadarko before drilling commences, and that Maritime New Zealand would be entirely responsible for containment and clean-up in the event of a catastrophic leak.
“Deep water oil drilling is still a very new activity, and we’ve already seen one catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico that will cost tens of billions of dollars and cause untold ecological damage,” said Mrs Turei.
“Now our Government is about to allow drilling in water five times deeper than any well has ever been drilled in New Zealand waters, with no environmental permitting regime in place, or infrastructure to respond if there is spill,” said Mrs Turei.
“The Minister continues to state that 400 Maritime emergency responders will be on hand. Nevermind that there were upwards of 45,000 responders and nearly a thousand vessels involved in the Gulf containment.
“Even Anadarko, in their annual report, state that the lack of infrastructure in deep water means that they may not be able to quickly or effectively execute any contingency plans related to future events similar to the Gulf oil spill.
“John Key’s Government is turning a blind eye to the huge risks involved, and they’re willing to let New Zealand taxpayers foot the bill if anything goes wrong,” said Mrs Turei.