Skip to main content

To: Minister for the Environment - Nick Smith


This campaign has ended.


Currently, exploratory drilling for oil and gas is not publically notifiable, meaning there are no public submissions or hearings before an independent board of inquiry and that we cannot have our say within the conventional legal system. This needs to change - we are calling on the Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith, to make exploratory drilling a publicly notifiable activity.

Why is this important?

We should all have the right to have our say on deep sea oil in our country's waters. Deep sea oil could have a massive impact on huge stretches of our coastline and how New Zealand is viewed as a whole. We should have the right to make submissions, have hearings before a independent boards of inquiry, and the right to cross-examine oil companies.

Making exploratory drilling for oil and gas a publicly notifiable activity will increase the cost for oil companies and is a positive step towards stopping deep sea oil in New Zealand.

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.

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 need to take real climate action now and say NO to deep sea oil drilling and making exploratory drilling publicly notifiable is a positive step in the right direction.

Reasons for signing

  • How can more oil solve the problem of too much oil? In the many years I lived away, I watched as the beautiful places of the world were ruined. It has to end.
  • Keep it clean!


2016-02-28 08:53:28 +1300

100 signatures reached

2016-02-05 07:47:37 +1300

50 signatures reached

2016-01-22 06:01:30 +1300

25 signatures reached

2016-01-21 15:41:13 +1300

10 signatures reached

2016-01-17 16:11:02 +1300

Check out the campaign at