Last week the government quietly gave Anadarko permission to drill in 1500m of water off the Raglan coast. So what happens if something goes wrong? We couldn't cope:
A leading maritime author says New Zealand is woefully unprepared if Anadarko Petroleum Corporation's drilling of the country's deepest-ever oil well just 100 nautical miles off Raglan goes wrong.
John Julian, who wrote Black Tide: The Story Behind the Rena Disaster, said New Zealand wouldn't cope if Anadarko's drilling in 1500 metres of water went awry.
"We aren't ready yet, we don't have the necessary kit at our disposal, and the modest dollar pool that Maritime New Zealand and its political masters had at their disposal has been more than mopped up by the wreck of the Rena," he said.
Our oil-spill response capacity is laughable - three glorified aluminium dinghies. It would be utterly overwhelmed by a spill, as the Rena disaster showed us. And we don't require drillers to have appropriate response vessels on standby - or even to agree to cover the costs of cleanup. We take the risk, they get the reward - and if the worst happens, we are utterly fucked.
This is not a credible policy. National are gambling with our environment, hoping for a lucky strike as a substitute for an economic plan. We shouldn't put up with them risking our futures like this.