Oil drilling needs safeguards - Horan

Independent MP Brendan Horan says the Government is boasting about 13 new offshore oil wells when they have zero real capability to deal with an oil spill.

Simon Bridges and Steven Joyce seem reckless, irresponsible and arrogant towards the many public concerns with deep-water offshore oil exploration, and have given the go ahead for 13 new exploratory offshore oil wells this summer. The current total oil response fleet we have available in NZ is just a meagre three (3) eight-metre aluminium runabouts," said Brendan Horan.

"National seems to think that ‘new regulations’ and a ‘bigger insurance policy’ will deal with an oil spill. Have you ever tried picking up oil off the beach with an insurance policy?" said Mr Horan. "Ask the people of Christchurch what they think of insurance companies"

The Government is salivating over Minister Bridges claim that ‘the oil industry is expected to spend upwards of $600 million,’ yet blind to the huge risks, and totally dismissive of public opposition in respect to oil exploration. I guess they feel that Simon Bridges anti demonstration bill will take care of the public nuisance said Horan.

Those of us in the Bay of Plenty who lived through two years of the on-going Rena saga truly appreciate that cleaning an oil spill could take billions of dollars, years to clean and result in permanent environmental damage. The amount of oil spilt from the Rena is equivalent to less than two hours of the constant 153 day flow from the deep-water Gulf of Mexico disaster.

"The Deep-water Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico was an exploratory well. The oil spill from that took 153 days - five months - to cap, and cost US$14 billion to manage the clean-up. It used an entire fleet of ships, some of up to 70,000 tonnes. By contrast our clean-up capacity is next to zero, three runabouts which if it wasn’t so pathetic it would be a joke," said Brendan Horan.

(See: http://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/Environmental/Responding-to-spills-and-pollution/Spill-response-equipment.asp)

The Government, by ignoring public sentiment and enabling deep water offshore exploratory drilling, is putting at risk our environment, our good name, our reputation and multiple industries. Proper safeguards must be in place before a single drill-bit touches the sea floor. The National Party does not have a mandate to put our oceans, our shorelines and our rivers at risk.

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