PRESS RELEASE: Capital city farewells people’s flotilla

The last of the Oil Free Seas Flotilla boats leaves port from Wellington’s Queens Wharf on Thursday 14 November at 12noon.

There will be speeches by Members of Parliament, Ora Taiao and Oil Free Wellington. Jeanette Fitzsimons and Bunny McDiarmid will also speak; the two women will be sailing with the flotilla to confront Anadarko’s oil drilling ship over 100 nautical miles off the west coast of New Zealand.

“Jeanette and I are honoured to be sailing with the Oil Free Seas Flotilla in keeping with our country’s long tradition of peaceful protest at sea.

“We’re sailing not just to protect our beaches, and our oceans, but also to protect our nation’s economy. Our own clean-tech energy companies could provide a multi-billion dollar boost and thousands of jobs for New Zealand. But the government is instead backing oil companies like Anadarko, which makes little economic sense,” said Bunny McDiarmid, the executive director of Greenpeace.

Texan oil company Anadarko is due to start drilling around the middle to the end of November, using the previously untested drill ship the Nobel Bob Douglas.

The flotilla, made up of 6 boats, is a loose association of individuals and boat owners who oppose deep-sea drilling and the new legislation that takes away New Zealander’s long-standing right to peacefully protest at sea. One of the boats taking part, the Vega, also sailed against French nuclear tests in the Pacific.

“We love New Zealand, and this country is what it is because kiwis have stood up for what we believe in. I was on board the SV Vega protesting against French nuclear testing in the Pacific in the 70’s. Nuclear testing in the Pacific wasn’t right and deep-sea oil drilling in the Tasman is not right either. We will not be bullied into submission by big oil or dubious laws,” said Anna Horne of Oil Free Seas Flotilla.

Earlier this year, the Government announced a controversial new law to ban aspects of protesting at sea, known as the ‘Anadarko Amendment’.

“By being there we are saying to Anadarko that they are not welcome here doing this kind of activity. This law suits the suits, but not the environment and the wishes of the people of New Zealand” said Anna Horne.

The Wellington event is planned to run as follows. We invite everyone to bring a banner and come along.

10am                             Boats arrive

10.30 – 11:45am            Music

11.45 – 12.30pm            Speeches

12.30pm                         Boats Depart

Link to the Oil free Seas Flotilla website with daily video blogs:

http://oilfreeseasflotilla.org.nz/

ENDS

Contact information:

Anna Horne, Spokesperson for the Oil Free Sea Flotilla, 021 0222 1389

Ana Mules, communications officer, Greenpeace: +64 21 2609186 ana.mules@greenpeace.org

Steve Abel, energy campaigner, Greenpeace: +64 21 927301 steve.abel@greenpeace.org