20 Jul 2011

Davis says iwi must be involved in prospecting process

10:16 pm on 20 July 2011

Northland Labour MP Kelvin Davis says it is good the Government is not awarding any rights for oil prospecting off Northland's west coast.

There were no successful bids for the 12 exploration blocks in the Northland and Reinga basins, which may contain up to a trillion barrels of oil. The Government won't explain why none succeeded.

Mr Davis says the Government may have learned a lesson from the recent protests by Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Ngāti Porou over oil exploration off East Cape.

He says iwi want to be consulted about off-shore oil drilling, and the Government now has time to work out how to involve them.

The Northland MP says iwi fear a repeat of last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, but they are also concerned about royalties.

Mr Davis says iwi might support off-shore oil drilling if they were involved and had all the facts, but they might also tell prospectors to get lost - depending on the circumstances.