New Zealand celebrities joined protests against proposed laws that will remove the requirement of public consultation on applications for deep-sea gas and oil drilling activities. The proposed law will also abolish the right to conduct a protest at sea.
Actors and celebrities like Lucy Lawless, Sam Neill, Robyn Malcom and Sir Ted Thomas, a former Supreme Court judge, among others, supported the protests by Maori and environmental groups to urge New Zealand's government not to pass the law.
The proposed law was introduced in the Marine Legislation Bill before members of the Parliament. The approval of the law would mean there would be no more public consultations for oil and gas drillings in the sea.
A growing number of environmental and private groups are concerned over the proposed plans that could place New Zealand at risk and suffer the same fate caused by the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. The catastrophic event released millions of barrels of oil out into the sea and killed 11 people working on the drilling operations. The massive oil spill lasted for 87 days.
Gareth Hughes, New Zealand Greens MP said that deep sea drilling should not be allowed since the possibility of an oil leak could leave dire consequences for the country's economy, environment and reputation.
Like the Arctic waters, New Zealand's deep sea is also under threat as oil and gas companies quickly line up to apply for government permission to begin exploratory drilling operations to look for carbon fuel deposits which essentially help destroy the environment.
Amidst the new oil rush, it is expected to be the busiest time in New Zealand with three offshore oil rigs being prepared to start drilling oil wells.
Anadarko, a U.S. oil company in Texas that owns a 25 per cent stake in BP's Macondo oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, has submitted plans to start its drilling operations in the coming months. The company said it will start drilling off the west coast of New Zealand, near Raglan and in the waters not far from Otago.
The New Zealand government has continued to offer offshore and onshore oil and gas drilling exploration blocks for drilling. The government has since proposed a new law to protect the oil drilling industry from public scrutiny.