Maui's dolphin sighted in new oil block

The sighting of a Maui’s dolphin in an area the Government has just opened up to oil and gas exploration shows how willing Energy Minister Simon Bridges is to sacrifice the environment for oil, the Green Party said today.

The Maui's Sanctuary was created to help protect Maui’s dolphins, but it overlaps with areas the Government has offered up for exploration this week. A Maui’s dolphin, one of only 55 adult individuals remaining, was spotted in one of these areas.

"It's incredibly arrogant to dismiss public concern and offer a permit in an area where a Maui's dolphin confirmed sighting has occurred," said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“There is a risk to marine mammals from seismic surveying, which involves incredibly loud underwater noises that have been shown to affect these animals.

"Maui’s dolphins are not the only animals at risk – the Block Offer also includes albatross and yellow-eyed penguin habitats and Victoria Forest Park.

“Energy Minister Simon Bridges has signed off oil blocks in water deeper than 3.8km. The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement data says the deeper you drill, the greater the risk of a spill.

“Just look at the Gulf of Mexico where one in every 19 wells deeper than 1500m has had a spill.

“The Government is out of touch with a clean, green New Zealand. It’s determined to exploit our resources for short term gain, which smacks of desperation,” Mr Hughes said.

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