It is 2017. Our new government has made climate change a top priority because we know we must not dig or drill for any new fossil fuels if we are to have a liveable climate. But it is almost like New Zealand, together with 168 other countries, never even signed the Paris Agreement.

This week The Otago Daily Times published an article announcing that a drilling commitment was secured, and drilling in the Barque field, offshore of Oamaru, could begin as early as 2025.

The idea of drilling for more oil and gas off the coast of Aotearoa is  completely ridiculous.
We have just had some of the strongest storms ever recorded, Hurricane Irma was the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, and millions of people are being displaced all around the world by extreme weather events. Our new government is discussing literally creating a new category of ‘climate change refugee visas’ to assist the millions more that will be affected by the increasingly catastrophic effects of climate change if we don’t clean up our act.

These are the real costs of this ‘business as usual’ approach conducted by people whose thinking is 100 years too late. With COP 23 (this year’s climate talks hosted by Fiji), just around the corner, let’s not forget that projects like this are a slap on the face to our Pacific neighbours.

The article goes on and estimates that the construction phase of the Barque field could create 1940 offshore jobs and 950 jobs in ongoing operations in one scenario. In a second scenario, 3100 jobs could be created in gas-to-shore operations, and 1980 in ongoing operations.

We call nonsense.

According to the article, they will not begin drilling until 2025, which is five years after our Government announced an unconditional 2020 climate change target of 5 per cent below 1990 emissions. Both  cannot be happen. There is no reason for us to trust the claims of an industry set to profit from the drilling while moving against our global and binding commitment to reducing our carbon emissions.

NZOG need to get to grips with the reality that they’re in a dying industry, and stop making lofty claims about prosperity from new oil and gas, when we know that these projects cannot go ahead.

These are exactly the kind of short sighted promises the fossil fuel industry has always used to buy the social license needed to continue profiting from the exploitation of our future.

And it’s time for our leaders and our communities to stop accepting them.

Our movement will not allow new fossil fuel projects to wreck our future.