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Public right to oppose oil exploration: Bridges rubbishes 'no protest' claims

Claims new laws will ban protests about offshore oil exploration or drilling are “rubbish”, says Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges.

Speaking on TV3’s The Nation, Mr Bridges hit back at critics of his law which will remove the public’s right to oppose deep-sea oil and gas exploration, and make oil giants’ applications non-notified.

“You can protest literally anywhere, anytime,” he said.

“What you can’t do … is unsafe action around vessels who are going about their lawful business, where you’re putting them and yourself at risk of death.”

Despite the changes to protesting, Mr Bridges said scepticism about mining was healthy, and it was important to challenge and ask questions about changes.

“We live in a free society, and that’s very right.”

It was ironic that Sam Neill and Lucy Lawless, the celebrity faces of Greenpeace, travelled around the world on planes, making movies, he said.

When asked if he was calling Sam Neill a hypocrite, Mr Bridges said, “that’s one word for it”.

Comments and questions

Agreed, anyone who uses petrol or coal should not be allowed to protest.

What a refreshing stance from this government. After all the work done to excite major players about New Zealand's potential, we had a couple of morons who by their actions, destroyed the confidence of Petrobras to bother with us, and rather to move on to countries where people want to get ahead. The hypocrisy of the Greens is astonishing. When Russell and his ilk move to an island and show us how their nirvana works (without dope) over say 10 years, no copper, no "radiation" from cellphones, no wood fires, no coal, no petrol, no diesel etc. then I'll change my mind about these anti-establishment posers.

Of course these protesters are hypocrites - most aren't even aware of it their ignorance is almost so complete.

They fly/drive in machines that have been made by Heavy Industry, burning petrochemical products. Some females attempt to "pretty" themselves using yet more petrochemical "beauty" products such as lipstick and eye liner...

..then they wear their nylon / plastic raincoats to put up their nylon protest tents, so they can then call their friends on electronic/plastic/metal phones that all requires Heavy Industry to make, then they wear their Crocks to go and protest about the very products that make the 21st Century different from the 18th Century.

Yet - ask a protestor to forgo all the items/products and benefits that petrochemical products provide - and they'll squeal loudest.

I somewhat agree that there may be an undercurrent of hypocrisy at times but this black and white perspective is laughably lacking in nuance. Just as nobody is entirely right or entirely left, so is this issue a matter of degree. We all sit somewhere on the spectrum, and few of us lie on the extremities with you where we're either all in or all out.