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New Zealand

Climate protesters nearly bottled during OMV blockade

Newshub logoNewshub 2/12/2019 Scott Palmer
a person standing in front of a body of water: Watch: Greenpeace said the OMV boat occupation "successfully" ended any hope the oil company had of "conducting their reckless drilling programme". © Video - Newshub; Image - Greenpeace/supplied Watch: Greenpeace said the OMV boat occupation "successfully" ended any hope the oil company had of "conducting their reckless drilling programme".

Climate change activists say they've had bottles thrown at them after blocking entrances to an oil company's New Plymouth headquarters.

The protesters launched the overnight blockade against OMV, the last major overseas oil company operating in New Zealand.

Greenpeace NZ programme director Niamh O'Flynn says they had a "challenging night" after people in speeding cars threw two bottles at the protestors. One passed close over their heads.

"We praise the bravery of the protesters standing up for our future," she says.

"We are unperturbed by the actions of this tiny minority and we're determined to carry on with our non-violent demonstration."

OMV is currently preparing to start oil drilling off the Taranaki coast. While the Government has banned much future exploration and drilling, existing contracts will be honoured and there are exceptions in some regions.

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O'Flynn says enough is enough and it’s time to shut down "business as usual" for the company.

"We intend to stand our ground, to make our point that OMV has no place in New Zealand because we're facing a climate emergency and we cannot afford to burn the oil we've got, let alone look for more," she says.

"Most people realise we're on the side of locals here in Taranaki. Clean energy would deliver new jobs and prosperity for the region, and we're calling on the Government and industry to step up and support oil and gas workers in a just transition towards the future we need."

The protesters say they're planning to stay for three days to make their point.

OMV has told its approximately 300 staff to work from home, calling the protests an "inconvenience" but respecting people's right to protest.

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