Friday, September 21, 2018


Back in 2017, Greenpeace activists Russel Norman and Sara Howell protested against a foreign seismic survey ship as it explored for oil. The protest violated National's "Anadarko amendment", a law specifically outlawing protest against the oil industry at sea. But today, despite MBIE's efforts to persecute them, they were discharged without conviction:

Two Greenpeace activists who disrupted an oil exploration vessel have been discharged without conviction.

Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman and fellow activist Sara Howell appeared in Napier District Court in July to apply for a discharge without conviction after admitting a charge of interfering with an oil exploration vessel.


Judge Tompkins said if Norman and Howell were convicted they would receive a more serious penalty than Mulvay [who had been given diversion] "when all three were equally involved in exactly the same sequence of events".

The Judge said the gravity of the offending was low and the effect of convictions for the pair would be out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence.

But while this is an obvious victory, there's still a lot which needs to be done. Firstly, there's the matter of Thompson & Clark's involvement in the case, where they seem to have spied on Greenpeace for MBIE, acting as a Stasi-for-hire for the government - something which should not be legal in a democracy. Secondly, there's the Anadarko amendment itself. Its still on the books, but now that the case is over the government should repeal it immediately. Laws banning protest have no place in a free and democratic society.