13 August 2013
Public silenced on oil well consents
The Gisborne District Council is wrong to deny residents a say on the first proposed oil well in the district, the Green
Party said today.
“An international corporation should not be allowed to apply for consents to drill an oil well on the East Coast without
public input,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.
Mr Hughes was responding to the Gisborne District Council which today decided that it will not hold public submissions
or a hearings process for resource consent applications from TAG Oil Ltd relating to a proposed exploratory petroleum
well. This is the first such application in the district.
“This is the poor type of decision making that you’ll get from local councils under a National Government that is so
blatantly eager to progress it’s petroleum development agenda no matter what the public thinks,” said Mr Hughes.
“The Council is silencing its own residents, who asked to be consulted on the issue, in favour of an international oil
In June, Frack-Free Tairawhiti tabled a petition with 2,000 signatures calling on Gisborne District Council to publicly
notify any oil and gas-related resource consents.
Mr Hughes said the public was worried about the expansion of oil and gas on the East Coast and the prospect of fracking.
“The Government’s own East Coast Oil and Gas Development Study states that petroleum development in the region is most
likely to include fracking. Indeed, TAG Oil’s application material includes a list of fracking chemicals although the
company is not seeking a resource consent to frack at this time,” said Mr Hughes.
“New Zealand’s independent environmental watchdog, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, concluded in an
interim report on fracking that oil and gas companies didn’t have a ‘social license’ to operate. Blocking community
voices from being heard over consents is no way to earn that social license.”