National | Environment

Far North iwi claim Statoil's consultation with iwi is fake

There is growing support in the Far North for a planned protest at a meeting of Statoil  executives.  They're scheduled to meet with the Northland Regional Council in Whangarei on Friday morning as a requirement of their permit to explore the seabed for oil.

It's a scene we could well see off the Far North coast of New Zealand if Statoil meets its requirements to consult.

Hinekaa Mako from Te Rōpū Taikaha says, "On Friday morning, we'll be outside that meeting because they're not coming here to give Māori a hand up.  They're only coming here for one thing and that's to make money!"

They're part of a Māori contingent who travelled to Norway back in May to present their oppostion before Statoil executives and the indigenous Saami nation.

Mako says, "Their paramount chief is in total support of the stance the indigenous people of Aotearoa are taking on this issue."

Mike Smith, also from Te Rōpū Taikaha says, "There must be something wrong with their ears.  We've already told them they're not welcome.  What are they doing back here again, so we're tellling them get back into your plane, go back to Norway!  You'd better start protecting your own children and mokopuna from the dangers of climate change rather than coming down here to our part of the world to make the problem even worse."

A requirement of the permit issued by government to Statoil is that they consult with Māori.  But Far North iwi say it's a fake consultation with Ngāti Kuri, Te Rarawa and Ngāti Kahu having already filed an application with the Waitangi Tribunal over the effects of the industry on climate change and the environment.

Smith adds, "All roads lead to the fossil fuel industry.  We know that it's the burning of fossil fuels that's causing these problems and unless we do something about it now our children are gonna be in serious trouble."

"We have one thing to say, leave the seabed alone!!  Statoil can go home and leave our seas and our lands in their natural state," says Mako.