On Easter Sunday our Energy Minister Simon Bridges proposed a new law that is an assault on everything I believe to be both right and honourable as a Kiwi.
In the interest of pandering to large overseas oil companies such as Anadarko who intend to come to New Zealand waters and deep sea drill for oil, Bridges intends to push through an Amendment to our Crown Minerals Bill.
What this means is that peaceful protest will be stopped on the seas. The amendment does this by putting a 500 metre exclusion zone around vessels under threat of 12 months imprisonment and a $50,000 for an individual or $100,000 for groups for nothing more than interference with the vessel. The French agents who sank the Rainbow Warrior and killed Fernando Pereira, a photographer, must be laughing their heads off. They didn’t serve much more than that for bombing the vessel while it sat in Auckland Harbour.
This is abhorrent. The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [which New Zealand is a party to] does not provide for a safety zone around a ship and for good reason. There are already enough international instruments in play specifically aimed at preventing collisions at sea as well as preventing violence.
This proposal will have a devastating effect on the Freedom of Expression and Protest at Sea.
For the full legal opinion on this visit: The Opinion on Proposed Amendments to the Crown Minerals [Permitting and Crown Land] Bill. Part of what it has to say is repeated here under:
The New Zealand Bill of Rights enshrines in section 14 “the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impartinformation and opinions of any kind in any form,” and provides in section 16 for the freedom of peaceful assembly and in section 17 for the right to freedom of association. These sections reflect similar provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association. There is no doubt that international law supports the right of legitimate and peaceful demonstration, protest and confrontation at sea.
The IMO has expressly recognised the right of protest at sea, in a resolution “[a]ffirming the rights and obligations relating to legitimate and peaceful forms of demonstration, protest or confrontation and notingthat there are international instruments that may be relevant to these rights and obligations.”The International Whaling Commission has repeatedly in resolutions expressly upheld the right to legitimate and peaceful forms of protest and demonstration at sea. The writer was present at the meetings, where New Zealand took an important and active role in preserving the right to peaceful protest in the resolutions. It is worth noting that many important environmental protection initiatives arose from protests at sea, including the moratorium on commercial whaling, the ban on the dumping of nuclear waste at sea and the ban on the use of driftnets. Perhaps most importantly to New Zealanders, a cessation of atmospheric nuclear tests came after the New Zealand government itself sent two naval vessels protest – HMNZSCanterbury and HMNZS Otago – to protest at Moruroa in 1973, and again in 1995 to protest under ground nuclear testing.Australia also participated in the 1973 waterborne protest, sending the HMAS Supply.
It will be put in place just before Anadarko comes here planning to deep sea drill in our waters.
It only covers vessels such as deep sea drilling vessels.
Ordinary New Zealanders are being silenced by a money hungry government who has big corporations so far up its arse they can barely stand. In my opinion if Simon Bridges bends over any further to accommodate these oil companies he may well end up with his own head up his arse.
In 1973 a New Zealand Government who stood for something sent Naval vessels to Moruroa to protest French nuclear testing in the Pacific.
It makes me embarrassed that Simon Bridges is not only a New Zealander but a Minister of Parliament.
Organisations are gathering though. Powerful voices are pulling together [including a former Prime Minister] to bring awareness to the New Zealand public of this amendment, and to put the government on warning.
Every second Kiwis everywhere, and others from other nations are being added to a statement written by these well known Kiwis and New Zealand organisations as they sign in protest the following document: Defend the Right to Peaceful Protest at Sea: Reject The Anadarko Amendment.
I hope you will join with us as we fight for our right to protest peacefully against these corporations who have conned our government with the promise of a few coins for selling out our country.
A tweet or share on facebook would also be appreciated !!
My thanks in advance to you wonderful caring bloggers who always fight the good fights !!
- Deep seas law ‘a sledgehammer’ (nzherald.co.nz)
- Democratic freedoms seen as under attack (radionz.co.nz)
- The art of protest in New Zealand (stuff.co.nz)
- Govt plans hefty fines for offshore mining protests (radionz.co.nz)
- Protester law avoids public submissions and Bill of Rights vetting (nzherald.co.nz)
- Sea protest law challenged (stuff.co.nz)