Residents to voice deep sea drilling concerns

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A Greenpeace-organised meeting on Saturday is set to voice concerns about deep sea drilling off the coast.

The meeting, to be held this Saturday at the Blind Foundation Hall at 7pm, was designed to start building a movement against deep-sea oil drilling in the area, Greenpeace community organiser Robin Wilson-Whiting said.

“We are moving through South Island communities to share information about deep sea drilling.

“We want to talk and connect with communities . . . about what the community response is to these plans,” Miss Wilson-Whiting said.

The goal was to help create a sustainable future for New Zealand and ensure people could make sure their voices were heard, she said.

“Deep sea oil’s not all it’s cracked up to be, we need to arm ourselves with the knowledge to fight back.”

Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher said he had not heard from anyone concerned about drilling.

Mr Kircher said he would talk to anyone who had concerns.

“We’re here to represent the district.

“If there are concerns that people want to bring to me then the door is open.”

Ultimately the council did not have much say in whether the drilling occurred, but contingency plans would be in place to ensure safety procedures were observed if drilling went ahead, Mr Kircher said.

“Our role is making sure if it does happen in our general area that every safeguard is taken,” he said.

Miss Wilson-Whiting said between 20-30 people were expected at the meeting but they were hoping for as many as possible.

The Oamaru meeting was one of 10 meetings Greenpeace was holding between Invercargill and Kaikoura, with three having been held so far.

BY DAVID DE LOREAN