Greenpeace climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, says against this backdrop it’s a “climate crime” that New Zealand is currently hosting the world’s largest seismic ship to search for more oil.
“We are in a climate emergency and our Government has invited this ship to blast for oil at extreme depths in an area of New Zealand that’s rich in rare and unique marine life,” she says
“This is the oil scientists say we can’t afford to burn if we are to have any chance at avoiding a climate catastrophe that will affect every single person and living thing on this planet.
“The burning of fossil fuels has already irreparably changed our future. The more the Earth warms, the more we’re experiencing violent weather events like the torrential weather bomb that's just hit New Zealand.
“This isn’t an issue for future generations to deal with. It’s no longer just about our children or our children’s children. This is happening right now – it’s about us.”
The seismic ship, the Amazon Warrior, will be searching for oil on behalf of oil giants Statoil and Chevron for the coming months.
Last week, Greenpeace and local iwi used two small inflatable boats to intercept it, 50 nautical miles off the coast of Wairarapa.
From on board one of the inflatables, Simcock rang the captain of the Amazon Warrior and delivered a message signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders, telling the ship to cease its operations immediately.
Polynesian voyaging waka captain and East Coast resident, Reuben Raihania Tipoki (Ngāti Kahungunu) also spoke on behalf of 80 indigenous communities from the East Coast who are demanding the ship leave their customary waters immediately.
Simcock says the journey was “just the beginning” of the looming uprising around New Zealand against the Amazon Warrior, the oil industry, and the Government’s oil agenda.
People across the country have already started making plans to attend The People’s Climate Rally, which will take place at the Government’s annual oil conference on March 22 and 23 in New Plymouth.
Organising groups include Climate Justice Taranaki, Frack Free, Oil Free Wellington, Greenpeace and 350 Aotearoa.
Simcock says it’s more important than ever to get active about climate change.
“We have Trump about to take office in the US - one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters - who thinks that climate change is a hoax made up by China. And here at home we now have Bill English, who has downplayed the importance of climate change and said that our response to it should be ‘moderate’,” she says.
“We can’t wait for our leaders to act because they’re not doing it fast enough. It’s up to the people now.”