A sigh of relief has swept over Te Whanau a Apanui with the news that the charges against Elvis Teddy, the skipper who was part of a flotilla protest against oil exploration off the East Coast, have been dismissed.
In April, the skipper and fisherman was arrested after he joined a protest which sought to blockade a Brazilian survey ship owned by the oil giant Petrobras, as it attempted to enter the Raukumara Basin.
The charges were dropped after his lawyer argued that the protest too place outside of New Zealand’s nautical mile zone, meaning NZ courts had no jurisdiction.
The court heard an exchange between Teddy and the Petrobas vessel where he said he was not protesting but “defending tribal waters and our rights from reckless Government policies and the threat of deep sea drilling”.
The Ocean Explorer was doing the first seismic study of the Raukumara Basin since the Government awarded Petrobras a $151 million five-year permit in 2010.