To: Richard Kempthorne, Mayor of Tasman District Council

Tasman District Council - Block the Offer - say no to deep sea oil

We ask the Tasman District Council to oppose deep sea prospecting and drilling for oil or gas in coastal waters near Tasman Bay. We ask that this opposition be communicated to the central government authority before Friday November 18th.

Why is this important?

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

There are many concerns about oil prospecting and drilling including:

1. The impact of climate change is already being felt in Tasman District in the form of flooding and coastal erosion. 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.

2. 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.

3. Oil leaks of varying severity are not uncommon in oil fields. The Australian government is hesitating to let oil companies like Statoil drill in the Great Australian Bight because a leak could reach coastlines as far as Tasmania and New South Wales. The proposed South Taranaki Basin areas reach tens of miles from precious Tasman coastlines. 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. The risk is too great.

4. Seismic surveys associated with deep sea oil exploration are severely disruptive to marine mammals. In this case Maui dolphins and blue whales will be further threatened.

5. 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 economy. In fact the number of jobs created by oil exploration is relatively small. Many more jobs are created by investment in alternative energy infrastructure. Jonathan Young has said that the region needs to explore other options, such as horticulture and tourism.

We need to take real climate action now and say NO to deep water drilling. We ask our councillors to represent our voices.

(5)Nearly one in four Taranaki kids doing it tough" - 18 July 2015
(6) Taranaki unemployment rates grow to 7.3%" - 6 August 2015
(7) 15 October 2016
(8) Growing sector of renewable energy jobs:

Nelson, New Zealand

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL

Reasons for signing

  • climate change solutions is to not start things like these in the first place
  • The whole Tasman economy revolves around the Abel Tasman National Park and the tourism our pristine area generates. This is endangered by deep sea prospecting. Look to the Gulf of Mexico for an example of the devastation caused by greed for fossil fuels by foreign companies
  • Earthquakes. One big shake and all that we love about Aotearoa could be gone.... ALL OF IT!