In this issue we look at the election and beyond...
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Kia ora koutou. Welcome to the Oil Free Wellington September Update. In this issue we focus on fossil fuels and climate justice in the lead up to the election and beyond; how local communities are mobilising to resist deep sea oil in Northland, and how Naomi Klein writes about capitalism vs the climate in her latest book. We also remember the grounding of the Rena, three years ago in October.

Climate Voter

With the election just days away, Nearly 70 000 people have now signed up to Climate Voter - an initiative of New Zealand organizations Forest and Bird, Generation Zero, 350, WWF, Greenpeace and Oxfam. It has aimed to empower concerned people to use their vote to make a difference for the climate. You can check out how the political parties' climate policies fared here at The Great Climate Voter Debate.

Organisations are looking beyond the election too...

Oil Free Wellington has shared this poster to remind us all that whatever happens in the election, the ocean and climate still need us

People’s Climate March –
a global day of action this Sunday 21st September

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to Climate Summit 2014 this coming 23rd September at the United Nations in New York.

In response, over 1400 groups – unions, faith groups, environmental groups, and many others -  are working together to take to the streets this Sunday and demand “a world with an economy that works for people and the planet”. The People’s Climate March is committed to principles of environmental justice and equality — representing the communities that are being hit the hardest by climate change.

The mobilization is aiming for more than a day of action – it’s a day to focus on the people taking action in communities to organize, build power, confront the fossil fuel industry, and to shift power.

While the plan is to get an unprecedented turn out in New York – there are actions happening around the world, including Aotearoa. In Wellington 350 are holding an event Keep on Mobilising. There is also an event at Mt Victoria. People's Climate Marches are planned for Auckland and Nelson. For other events in New Zealand and the world look here.

You can download also the movie Disruption to see the build up to the march, the impact of climate change, and the importance of a mass movement.  ...

Dirty oil and gas converge in Auckland

All of the major oil and gas companies involved in exploration and production in Aotearoa will be at the Petroleum Summit happening from 30 September-2 October at Sky City in Auckland. Because the Summit is so close on the heels of the general election, there is not going to be another block offer (the opening up of new areas for exploration) but the Minister of Energy and Resources will be there. The conference is one of the places where the industry gets together to discuss how to dismantle existing environmental regulations and to strategise about how to co-opt local communities or silence them. There is massive ongoing opposition to both offshore and onshore drilling, and we can expect resistance from affected communities at this event, too. A hikoi is already planned starting on 26th September from Cape Reinga to protest Statoil prospecting for deep sea oil off the Northland coast. You can read the full programme for the Summit here:


Renown Journalist Naomi Klein's new book is out this week. In it, Klein makes clear the huge challenge facing us with respect to climate change , the limited time we now have to address it– and how the problem actually isn’t the climate – it’s capitalism.

“We have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. We have been told it’s impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it—it just requires breaking every rule in the “free-market” playbook….”  Klein notes we have had 25 years to test the hypothesis that capitalism can save us and the result is a massive fail.

And for an idea about what could save us, see this scientist’s modeling about the positive effects of peoples’ movements and direct action.

New activists getting trained up

In early August, Oil Free people met up with the Wellington High School Eco club and other students for some direct action training. The day was great fun with discussions about the history of non-violent direct action (nvda), some successful strategies and tactics for grassroots organising, and some hands-on techniques for environmental and social justice campaigning. We were really privileged to meet up with these awesome switched on people who will be on the front lines of activism in the next few years. We hope to do some more nvda training in the next couple of months with people in the Wellington community as we get ready for another summer of resistance to deep sea oil.

Third anniversary of Aotearoa’s worst oil spill

The 5th October will mark the third anniversary of the grounding of the Rena on the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga. More than 350 tonnes of heavy oil spilled into the seas, washing up on beaches along the Bay of Plenty, killing two thousand sea birds and contaminating the ecosystem for thousands of others. Three years on the Astrolabe Reef remains highly contaminated and local iwi Ngāi Te HapÅ« of MōtÄ«tÄ« want the wreck of the Rena removed. They oppose the owners’ application to leave the remains there. This tragic event highlights New Zealand’s limited capacity to deal with an oil spill from a ship, let alone one from an exploratory oil well. See this infographic  for a comparison of oil spill volumes.

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