East Coast iwi Te Whanau a Apanui and Greenpeace are appealing a High Court decision which declined to overturn a permit given to Brazilian oil company Petrobras.
The permit, granted by the Government in 2010, allows Petrobras to conduct exploratory exercises for oil in the deep water off the East Cape.
Greenpeace and East Coast iwi Te Whanau a Apanui are continuing their fight to have a permit granted for deep sea oil drilling overturned.
Greenpeace and Te Whanau a Apanui have lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal on the basis the High Court made several legal errors.
Greenpeace also want to appeal the finding that the Crown did not breach its Treaty of Waitangi obligations, including duties of active protection and proper consultation with iwi before awarding the permit.
“Crown Minerals told us that the potential effects of the oil exploration would be generally minor, short-term and restricted to small areas,” says Te Whanau a Apanui spokesperson Rikirangi Gage.
“But the expert affidavits we put before the Court show seismic testing has effects on marine mammals and fish, and the exploratory phase is the most dangerous part of the oil production process.”
Rikirangi says the Deepwater Horizon, which exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, spilling 627,000 tonnes of oil, was also an exploratory well.
“Petrobras’ permit actually requires it to drill an exploratory well. We could potentially have a Deepwater Horizon on our hands, off the East Cape and Bay of Plenty.
“Given an area twice the size of the North Island was closed to fishing after the Deepwater Horizon spill, which would be a disaster for the whole country.”
The appeal comes days before a defended hearing for Elvis Teddy, which is scheduled in the Tauranga District Court on Monday, July 23.
Elvis was the skipper of the fishing boat San Pietro and was arrested in April 2011 and charged under the Maritime Transport Act with operating a vessel in an unsafe manner.
Police boarded it on April 23, 2011, during a protest against survey operations in the Raukumara basin conducted by the Brazilian company Petrobras.
The maximum penalty for the MTA charge is a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000.