Rakiura/Stewart Island is one of our special places which deserves protection from oil exploration, Green Party mining spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said today.
Southland District Council has granted Greymouth Petroleum Ltd resource consent to explore for petroleum and drill an exploratory well on a site at Horseshoe Bay Road on Rakiura/Stewart Island. The resource consent was non-notified.
"The National Government is failing to protect our special places by allowing mineral surveys in World Heritage Areas and oil exploration on Rakiura/Stewart Island which is known for its conservation values," said Ms Delahunty.
"Development of areas known for their natural beauty, such as Rakiura/Stewart Island, is a threat to our economically valuable clean, green image.
"We depend on nature so we need to look after it."
Ms Delahunty also objected to the lack of public input into the consent, which was granted non-notified.
"Not notifying consent applications denies the extensive public interest in petroleum development applications.
"The public has the right to have a say before councils give companies the go ahead for any oil and gas exploration activities."
Yesterday Gisborne District Council granted permission for an overseas company to take the first steps towards oil and gas production on the East Coast without public input.
"The trend for councils failing to notify is worrying," said Ms Delahunty.