An American oil company with a 25% share in the ruptured well that damaged the Gulf of Mexico last year plans to drill in deep waters off New Zealand.
Anadarko Petroleum owned a stake in the Deepwater Horizon well that leaked oil into the Gulf for three months, although the Texas company was not involved in any drilling.
It plans to drill in water about 1km deep off Canterbury and is also involved in exploration at deeper sites off Taranaki.
Acting Energy Minister Hekia Parata says Anadarko has a sound reputation and will focus on calming public fears.
But anti-drilling group Climate Justice Taranaki says it is insulting to allow a company associated with the Gulf disaster to drill in New Zealand.
The Green Party says iconic Otago coastal sites could be at risk from the drilling at the Canterbury Basin 50km away.
Green Party candidate Alex Cruise says the Government has not yet created the promised envrionmental protections and any accidental spill that washed ashore could have dire results for coastal attractions.