US oil company Anadarko is about to begin oil exploration off the Kaikoura coast, and government Ministers are angrily downplaying the risks. Meanwhile, it turns out that they've been formally warned that an accident would be catastrophic:
The Government was warned last year an offshore oil spill would have a "catastrophic impact" on New Zealand's coastline and "huge economic consequences".
The advice was included in a ministry briefing to Environment Minister Amy Adams about classifying exploratory drilling for oil and gas.
A briefing prepared in October last year said that while the probability of a well blowout in New Zealand was "unlikely" due to the small number of wells, "the true likelihood is unclear".
"However, if an oil spill does occur, it is highly likely to have a catastrophic impact on New Zealand's coastline and huge economic consequences, regardless of the other marine management regimes in place."
Do we need any more evidence that National is gambling with our environment? They're allowing activity with potentially huge environmental consequences, in the hope that they get lucky. As for why, its because striking oil is their economic "plan". So they're not just gambling with the environment - their entire economic policy is a gamble as well. And this is what National calls "better economic management"?
If you can't cap it, don't drill it. Its that simple. If Anadarko wants to conduct such risky drilling in New Zealand waters, it should be fully prepared to respond immediately to an accident. If they think that's "uneconomic", then their industry is. The people of New Zealand should not be expected to pay the costs or bear the consequences of an oil company skimping on safety.