New Zealand Greenpeacers Freed after Blocking World's Largest Oil-search Ship
September 22, 2018 Nick Young / Greenpeace Aotearoa, New Zealand
Charges against Greenpeace New Zealand's Executive Director Dr. Russel Norman and climate activist Sara Howell have been dropped after they were arrested for swimming in front of the world's largest oil and gas exploration ship to stop the search for fossil fuels off the Wairarapa Coast. On September 11, 2018, 33 years after French agents bombed and the flagship vessel -- an act of state-sponsored terrorism that killed one crew member -- the Rainbow Warrior II returned to Auckland.
Historic Discharge without Conviction for
Greenpeace Head and Climate Activist Nick Young / Greenpeace Aotearoa, New Zealand
(September 21, 2018) -- Greenpeace Executive Director Dr. Russel Norman and climate activist Sara Howell have been discharged without conviction following action they took to stop the world's largest oil and gas exploration ship searching for fossil fuels off the Wairarapa Coast.
The Napier District Court today delivered a 'discharge without conviction ' decision for the pair, who were facing charges laid by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, & Employment (MBIE), after the April 2017 action to confront the Amazon Warrior.
"We're thrilled with this verdict. We see this as a major win not just for us, but for the whole movement of people fighting against fossil fuels," says Greenpeace Executive Director, Russel Norman
"We love this planet and our kids, and we'll continue to fight to protect them from oil companies that want to destroy the climate in order to make profits.
"The science is clear -- if we want our kids to have a safe climate, we can't afford to burn most of the oil, gas, and coal we've already discovered. It makes no sense to look for more."
Charges laid against Greenpeace for the action were dropped by MBIE several months ago.
The environmental organisation had crowdfunded a boat, Taitu, to confront the Amazon Warrior 60 nautical miles out to sea, and Norman and Howell swam in front of it, stopping it from searching for oil and gas for the day.
A year on, the Coalition Government made the historic decision to bring an end to new offshore oil and gas exploration permits on the basis that taking action on climate change is necessary and urgent.
Norman says he had no choice but to confront the Amazon Warrior as it searched for oil and gas in New Zealand's seabed.
"As seas rise and extreme weather events become more frequent, we're facing the reality that if we delay climate action any longer, the consequences for us and our kids will be irreversible," he says.
High profile climate experts and leaders, including the former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong; one of the world's leading climate scientists, James Hansen; 350.org founder, Bill McKibben; and UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author, James Renwick of Victoria University provided supporting statements for Norman and Howell.
Norman says the discharge without conviction will set an important precedent.
"All around the world we're seeing a growing groundswell of people, communities, and governments standing up to the fossil fuel industry and taking bold action in the race to curb catastrophic climate change. We need this resistance if we are going to win this fight."
Fellow activist, Howell, says it's been encouraging to see how effective peaceful protest can be. "I needed to take action because all of the life on this planet -- in its oceans, mountains, rivers, forests, and cities -- is marvelous and brilliant. It is delicately balanced and too special to destroy," she says.
"Peaceful civil disobedience makes change happen. From Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus, to the non-violent resistance to Maori land confiscation at Parihaka; history tells us that peaceful protest is not only necessary, but it works.
"I always thought it would be someone else -- someone wiser, greater, more skilled, or a better speaker. It was empowering to finally do something physical about an issue I care about so deeply. It doesn't need to someone else. When you do something for love, you can do anything."
Greenpeace's flagship, the Rainbow Warrior is currently in New Zealand touring the country [See story below] to celebrate New Zealand's ban against new oil and gas permits, which came on the back of a seven-year campaign against offshore oil.
The organisation has just unveiled the next part of the campaign -- a plan called "Solarize New Zealand" -- which would see half a million homes Solarized over the next 10 years with money currently being used to subsidise the oil and gas industry.
Russel Norman Swims in Front of Oil Ship
FROM ON BOARD THE Rainbow Warrior (September 20, 2018) -- Today, Greenpeace activists Russel Norman and Sara Howell were acquitted on charges they received for their action to stop the world's largest seismic blasting ship from searching for oil here in New Zealand.
Today, almost 18 months after they swam in front of the Amazon Warrior and forced it off course, Sara and Russel received a discharge without conviction from Napier District Court.
This is a huge win, both for our activists who faced large fines and prison time, and for all of us in the fight to stabilise the climate and pass on a liveable planet for our future generations.
It's significant also, because Sara and Russel were the first activists in history to be charged under the controversial Anadarko amendment -- a piece of law created to protect Big Oil companies.
What Sara and Russel did was necessary to protect our climate, and to prevent fossil fuels we cannot afford to burn being sucked out of the ground by greedy Big Oil.
They took action because the science is clear: If we want to save our climate, we have to make oil history.
In New Zealand, we've already started this process. In April this year, following an almost decade-long movement against oil involving hundreds of thousands of people, our Government issued a ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits.
Now, how this story continues is up to all of us. The age of oil must end. And so we will continue to fight the oil industry here and around the globe in order to herald in the transition to a clean energy future.
Last week, we launched a new petition calling on the Government to Solarize half a million New Zealand homes in the next decade. Doing this will make energy fairer, cleaner, and more affordable for everybody. And it will make dirty energy obsolete, putting the final nail in the coffin of the outdated fossil fuel industry.
THE PETITION I call on Energy Minister Megan Woods to end oil & gas subsidies, and use that $88 million/year to put solar panels and batteries on 500,000 homes by 2030.
Ending new offshore oil exploration permits was a huge win for the climate and for people power. Now we need to Solarize New Zealand to power our homes, transport and economy with clean energy.
Companies with existing licenses to explore and drill could still extract oil from New Zealand and drive climate change for decades to come. To really make oil history, we need to eclipse dirty energy by transforming our energy system.
It's time to start a solar revolution!
By installing solar panels and batteries on half a million homes over the next ten years, we can really start to meet the challenge of the climate change crisis, increase the resilience of our power grid, and give affordable power back to the people.
It's an ambitious plan, but we can do it. We can power our homes, transport and economy with clean energy and make oil history.
Read our Solarize NZ Policy in full here. ACTION: A Plan to Install Solar and Batteries in Half-a-million Homes over the Next Ten Years Nick Young / Greenpeace
(September 13, 2018) -- When the Government decided to call time on offshore oil and gas exploration, it sent a clear message: the time has come for us to look elsewhere for the energy required to run our homes, cars, businesses, and economy.
Here's a plan: * Delivering clean solar power and storage to half a million New Zealand homes over ten years.
* Through an interest free loan on solar panels and a battery, with no upfront costs for the homeowner.
* Financed by diverting the $88m a year of public money that is currently spent on subsidies for the oil and gas industry.
* Contributing 1.5 GW of new clean power and 3 GW of grid-stabilising battery storage to New Zealand's electricity grid in the next decade.
* Putting power back in the hands of New Zealand households.
Download Solarize New Zealand 33 Years After a French Bomb Sank it,
The Rainbow Warrior Returns to Auckland Don McGlashan to Welcome Rainbow Warrior with Anchor Me Nick Young / Greenpeace
The Rainbow Warrior
The Bombing of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985
AUKLAND, New Zealand (September 11, 2018) -- The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior will be welcomed into Auckland tomorrow by musician Don McGlashan singing his Kiwi classic, "Anchor Me."
The ship has just arrived in the country for a tour to celebrate New Zealand's recent ban on new offshore oil exploration.
In 2005, a version of Anchor Me was recorded by a variety of well-known Kiwi artists to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the original Rainbow Warrior.
July 10, 2005 marked the twentieth anniversary of the dearly bombing of The Rainbow Warrior. In recognition, The Muttonbirds' released a song called 'Anchor Me' with proceeds going to Greenpeace.
In 1985, the Rainbow Warrior was bombed by the French Secret Service in retaliation for protests against France's Pacific nuclear testing program. The bombing killed Greenpeace photographer, Fernando Pereira.
The Rainbow Warrior became part of New Zealand's national identity for the many who still clearly remember the bombing.
Two years later, New Zealand became the first country in the world to declare itself nuclear free.
In April this year, New Zealand made international headlines when it became one of the first countries in the world to ban new offshore oil and gas exploration licenses.
In the lead-up to last year's election, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labeled climate change her generation's "nuclear-free moment".
Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman, says the Rainbow Warrior makes the link between these two historic movements. "In the eighties New Zealand stood up to the world's nuclear powers, and in doing so we became leaders on the biggest global threat of the time," he says.
"This year, we've once again become world leaders on the greatest threat of our time. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was right when she called climate change this generation's nuclear-free moment.
"It's fitting that the Rainbow Warrior has travelled across the world to be here to celebrate our nation's bold action on climate change -- action only made possible by a decade-long movement against oil, hundreds of thousands of people strong."
In Matauri Bay earlier this week, Norman and the crew laid a wreath in remembrance of Fernando Pereira and the sunken Rainbow Warrior, before launching the Making Oil History tour of New Zealand.
"While laying the wreath and then at a powhiri hosted by Ngati Kura, we reflected on the success of the nuclear campaign that drove the French Government to such extreme measures, and on the parallels it has with today's big fight against climate change and the oil companies which drive it," says Norman.
The Rainbow Warrior will travel around the country, stopping in centres including Whangaparaoa Bay, Wellington, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Stewart Island.
As well as celebrating the oil win, Greenpeace and the Rainbow Warrior crew will be holding events about the need for the Government to back New Zealand's transition to clean energy.
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