Coast iwi left out of oil debate (Gisborne Herald)

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Writer: Chimene del la Varis
The decision to grant exploration rights to Brazilian company Petrobras has sparked criticism from East Coast iwi.

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell fired questions about the issue at Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee in the house yesterday.

Mr Flavell asked what role the Economic Development Ministry had in the deal with the foreign oil and gas company Petrobras – the firm that won the right to explore and drill in the Raukumara basin.

Mr Flavell also questioned Mr Brownlee on his responsibility to consult with Te Whanau-a-Apanui and Ngati Porou about how the proposal fostered innovation and growth.

Mr Brownlee said Crown Minerals accrued to all New Zealanders and the Government had a duty to make sure the resource was well-explored.

The Crown Minerals Office website promotes and facilitates foreign investments in mining and offshore mineral and fuel exploration.

Mr Brownlee said consultation with iwi began in September 2008 and there was a period of 40 days allowed for iwi to respond but “none was forthcoming during that time”.

At a meeting earlier this year, there was an undertaking to let the iwi know when the block offer was being announced.

Mr Brownlee apologised to Ngati Porou leader Api Mahuika and Whanau-a-Apanui for not informing the iwi as he had promised.

“There was that slip-up” that I must take responsibility for,” he said.

Maori Party nominee Nguha Huirama-Patuwai said while he understood the demand for oil, the Government’s failure to consult with hapu and iwi from Ngati Porou and Te Whanau-a-Apanui did not bode well.

As kaitiaki (guardians), iwi were looking well beyond the period of exploration to a time when oil might be found and drilling would begin.

Mr Huirama-Patuwai said an oil-spill on the scale of the one in the United States would mean ecological death to the Coast.

“We don’t want BP here,” he said.

Tokomaru Bay locals said the concerns of iwi were too often ignored.

Rawiri Matahiki said a 200 nautical-mile offshore limit would not be enough to prevent an oil spill from polluting the taha moana.

Merekaraka Pewhairangi, also from Tokomaru Bay, said her concerns were for food resources if drilling went ahead.

“In the event of a leak, there could be oil spilling over the kaimoana,” she said.

Connie Pewhairangi-Potae said the drilling venture was unlikely to result in the creation of more jobs for people on the Coast.

1 COMMENT

  1. Gerry Brownlee greenlighted our own deep sea drilling…

    East coast oil exploration approved

    Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced that one of the world's largest oil companies, Petrobras, has been awarded exploration rights for oil and gas in the previously unexplored Raukumara Basin on the east coast of the North Island. Snaring Petrobras is arguably Brownlee's biggest coup since emphatically putting the "welcome" mat out for oil and gas explorers over the last 18 months, and wooing oil majors at a global petroleum conference in Mexico earlier in the year. The five year permit, covering 12,333sq km, is the first in the Raukumara Basin area. Brownlee described Petrobas International Braspetro B.V., owned by Brazilian company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A, as one of the biggest players in the global oil and gas industry.

    …so will we like Canada demand relief wells dug first? Of course not! Gerry tells us the voluntary code of 'Best Practice' will look after us. Really? A voluntary 'Best Practice' code is all that Gerry will implement? Gerry's press secretary knows 'Best Practice' unfortunately has the same initials as BP right?

    If Gerry's vision of a water tight voluntary code that will protect us from oil spills and will be so carefully scrutinized that all the I's are dotted and all the T's crossed is so certain, then why the fuck weren't local Iwi even consulted over the Petrobras contract?

    Maori ignored as Patrobras signed up

    Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson is attacking the issue of a licence to Brazilian company to prospect for oil off the North Island East Coast. Parekura Horomia says energy minister Gerry Brownlee failed to consult Maori before signing over the Raukumara Basin to Petrobras International. “Nobody knew about it. It wasn’t discussed in Parliament and the Maori Party didn’t say anything. And all of a sudden you’ve got this huge agreement signed up even with this disaster in Mexico, and also without even talking to the iwi leaders, Whanau a Apanui, Tairawhiti, Ngati Porou, Turanganui, those people where it is relevant to,” Mr Horomia says.

    …so Gerry's eagle like vision to assure us this drilling deal will be safe couldn't even manage to remember to talk to local Maori about this arrangement?

    A voluntary 'Best Practice' code and a deal that couldn't even remember to talk to local Maori are a sign that Gerry isn't protecting our interests at all and by refusing to even entertain a relief well drill clause into these deals to force the oil company to drill a relief well first suggests that Gerry is once again missing the point.

    Let's ask the people of Florida and New Orleans if they are happy with BP's 'Best Practice' shall we?

    http://tumeke.blogspot.com/2010/06/herry-brownlee

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