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”.