New Zealand, fondly called "Land of the Long White Cloud", with its rolling hills, snow-topped mountains, and pristine coastlines has long been perceived as the "greenest" of countries on this Earth. The current NZ government has been opening the floodgates to change that, and create obstacles for defenders to demonstrate opposition to crimes against the environment.
Fifth-largest in the world, the amount of ocean under NZ governance EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone, as referred internationally) is quite impressive. Add to that, the largest animal ever on the planet, the endangered Blue whale which made recent news: "The protection afforded to blue whales in New Zealand waters may need to be increased, now a study has found they may be more regular visitors to the South Taranaki Bight than previously thought."
"The South Taranaki Bight is also the largest offshore natural gas and oil exploration area in New Zealand, with seven production platforms, considerable seafloor pipelines, and significant plans for expansion in the near future. ...Shipping traffic and seabed mining activities have been shown to impact blue whales directly - altering their behaviour and degrading their habitat through acoustic disturbance and ship strikes. We need to gain a better understanding of how and when blue whales forage here so that possible impacts can be avoided."
Just a week before this discovery, the NZ government announced "open season" to offshore drilling and mining, with a subsequent ''loss of transparency'' in the process. (quoting Green Party spokesman on energy and offshore mining Gareth Hughes) "New Zealand's EEZ area (fifth-largest in the world), (Hughes) noted the proposed regulations would allow for drilling within 99.6% of that area. Only 0.4% was deemed protected waters."
"Resource consents will not have to be publicly notified for seismic surveying, such as that done by Polarcus Alima, pictured here returning to Dunedin, past Taiaroa Head, in December 2011 after undertaking survey work for Shell in the Great South Basin."
Also important to consider, the Taranaki bight is a "bridge" where Hector's may potentially mate with Maui's Dolphins; hence providing some hope for the subspecies (Cephalorhynchus hectorii Maui) survival through inter-breeding.
As a pre-emptive measure to protests over such potentially catastrophic events in New Zealand waters, enter the Anadarko Amendment.
"Oil Free Wellington says the revelation today that the "Anadarko Amendment" was introduced at the request of Shell Oil corporation in a backroom deal, further proves the level to which the Government is in the pockets of the oil and gas industry. ...The ‘Anadarko Amendment’ which was passed under urgency after no public consultation, removes the human right to protest and it has now been confirmed was introduced following a paper submitted by Shell Oil asking for such a law change."
Thankfully, on 4 June 2013, Energy Minister Simon Bridges has been challenged "to release full details of a meeting he had with oil company Shell if he is to clear accusations that he misled Parliament."
"Bridges had denied having contact with oil companies about the controversial Crown Minerals Bill amendment, which concerns protests at sea. But when it emerged last week that he had met Shell just weeks before announcing the amendment, the Labour Party said it ‘appears that Mr Bridges misled Parliament’.
At press time there is no further updates on full details released from Mr. Bridges' meeting with Shell Oil representatives as noted above.
Just last week the Mexican Vaquita Dolphins of Mexico which, as the Maui's & Hector's Dolphins of NZ have also become endangered due to drowning in gill nets. We warmly welcome the official announcement with good news for the Vaquitas of Mexico, including letters of concern for Maui's, Hector's, & Vaquitas, addressed from the Society of Marine Mammalogy to the NZ & Mexican governments.
Will the New Zealand government pay heed to concerns expressed by Society for Marine Mammalogy, IUCN (International Union of Conservation Nations), IWC International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee, and several international animal welfare organizations?
Much gratitude to everyone♥ for creating & collecting to contribute to our nearly 6,600 Visual Petitions!
Another "Let's Face It" Visual Petition campaign follow-up e-mail will be sent to the NZ govt early next week. So please keep them coming!
WE must KEEP the PRESSURE up!!!
GRAB your Camera!
Just asking your friends, family, & co-workers, you'll get heaps of VP photos!
Going to a party, event, farmers market,... this weekend?
Seabed mining, even more devastating than bottom trawling, could very soon come into Maui's & Hector's Dolphin habitat. Please visit the Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) site to know what you can do.