To: Southland District Council and Environment Southland Regional Council

Environment Southland & SDC - Block the Offer - Stop onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration

We are calling on Environment Southland (ES) and the Southland District Council (SDC) to adopt a position of opposition to onshore and offshore gas and oil prospecting and drilling. While we understand that ES and the SDC did not make the decision to issue permits for oil and gas exploration we nevertheless ask that the councils, as our representatives, help to ensure a future for generations still to come by making a clear statement of opposition. We ask that this opposition be communicated to the central government authority before Friday November 18th.

Why is this important?

We ask that Southland District Council and Environment Southland Regional Council advocate for both current and future generations by adopting a public position of opposition to oil and gas prospecting and drilling and that they express this and on any occasion that they are consulted on this topic. Oil companies have been offered the opportunity by the New Zealand government to prospect for oil and gas onshore in the Western Southland Basin and offshore in the Great South and Canterbury Basins. Consultations about oil permit areas are held with Iwi, Hapu and Local Authorities (such as the Timaru District Council), who have the opportunity to put in a submission to New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals before Friday November 18th.

Please note that there was no southland area previously available.

There are many other concerns about oil and gas prospecting and drilling including:

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.

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. To have a moderate chance of keeping temperature increase below 2 degrees centigrade, the allowable global carbon budget for the rest of this century is 400-850 gigatonnes (Gt = 1 billion tonnes.) Coal, oil and gas mines currently operating or under construction will emit 940 Gt over their lifespan. This exceeds the carbon budget.

Clearly more mines are not compatible with climate safety.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.

As governments legislate to limit greenhouse gas emissions, mining companies will demand compensation for their ‘stranded assets’. This will burden the taxpayer. We need no new oil infrastructure to create stranded assets.

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, In fact the number of jobs created by oil exploration is relatively small. Many more jobs are created by investment in alternative energy infrastructure. The idea that Taranaki is an area made rich by the oil industry is simply not true. Taranaki people’s annual average income is lower than the national average. Most of the wealth in Taranaki is held in the urban areas, and people living nearest to the well sites (such as Kaponga, Eltham, Patea, Stratford East and Waitara East), are in fact the most deprived, which is reflected in their low socio-economic levels and high school decile ratings.’ The 620 people who are directly employed by the oil industry, and the 1,160 people who work in support services are subjected to the boom-and-bust nature of the industries price cycles. Even New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young has said that the region needs to explore other options, such as horticulture and tourism.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 Southland District Council and the Environment Southland Regional Council advocate for the people and communities they serve by making a public statement of opposition to all the block offers that are onshore and offshore 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 onshore and offshore prospecting. We ask our councilors to represent our voices.

Block offers:
Canterbury - Great south basins (offshore):

Southland (onshore):

(5)Nearly one in four Taranaki kids doing it tough" - 18 July 2015
(6) Taranaki unemployment rates grow to 7.3%" - 6 August 2015

Southland District, Southland

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL

Reasons for signing

  • I visit NZ as a tourist and it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I hope that you will protect NZ from horrible oil and gas corporations that will ruin your pristine land and water. I know, I saw the Gulf of Mexico damaged beyond repair. All oil companies eventually LEAK. Please do not allow oil companies to ruin the most precious place on earth, NZ. Keep them out. Please, I want to return to NZ and explore more of its natural beauty.
  • We must transition away from burning fossil fuels or we will not survive.


2016-11-20 16:34:10 +1300

100 signatures reached