Has the Government given Greenpeace a green light to be more disruptive and into public disobedience by not pursuing charges laid under the Anadarko Amendment that saw them flouting marine safety laws?
Greenpeace was advised on Friday by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment that the Government will not pursue the charges laid under the Anadarko Amendment which carry a fine of up to $200,000.
However, Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman and climate activist Sara Howell will still face charges for their involvement.
Greenpeace said they will plead guilty and seek a discharge without conviction on the basis their conduct was necessary to bring about required change to government policy. In its statement Greenpeace cited the action was against the seismic vessel Amazon Warrior which was undertaking what it called “seismic blasting” one of the emotive and incorrect terms used by the activist group.
The resources sector must be wondering what is next, with a Prime Minister citing climate change as a major issue for perhaps the world’s least polluting nation and with her Government considering introducing new penalties on industry, including taxing carbon and penalising agriculture on methane emissions.
All this has evolved at a time when taxes are being placed on New Zealand’s already high petrol price, perhaps the sharpest way to generate inflation, and at a time when global oil news services are citing an end to the oil glut, which should amplify prices.
There is a perception that oil requirements like coal use will vanish in the light of renewable energy and the rapid emergence of electric vehicles. Decades ahead, coal will still be in demand in many countries for power and globally for steelmaking (for which there is no viable alternative).
Wind power currently produces only 2% of world demand and its growth in Australia has been taxpayer funded and only resulted in higher consumer bills and the risk of blackouts.
The transition to electric vehicles may take decades but in the interim they should tell all protesting Greenpeace members to cease using petrol and diesel driven vehicles.