Iwi goes to court over East Cape oil survey

8:23 am on 20 September 2011

An eastern Bay of Plenty iwi has teamed up with Greenpeace to take legal action over the Government's granting of an oil exploration permit off the East Cape.

Te Whanau-a-Apanui and the environmental group have jointly filed a judicial review in the High Court in Wellington, calling for the permit to be quashed on both environmental and Treaty of Waitangi grounds.

Both have protested against the Brazilian company Petrobras carrying out seismic surveys.

Greenpeace says the Government has failed to properly regard the principles of the Treaty, as well as consider the environmental impact of activities associated with the exploratory work.

Iwi spokesperson Robert Ruha says the Crown has never informed Te Whanau-a-Apanui about the permit, in spite of the Government releasing reports saying it had been in consultation with the tribe.

Mr Ruha says Te Whanau-a-Apanui see this as a breach of both the iwi's and the Crown's treaty obligations. He says the tribe's ultimate objective is for the permit to be quashed.

However, Petroleum Exploration and Production Association chief executive John Pfahlert says he doubts the judicial review will succeed.

"The Minister of Energy has already released a comprehensive dossier describing what consultation had taken place in 2008 and 2009."

Mr Pfahlert says it is "a bit rich" now for those who were consulted by the Crown at that time to now be going to court arguing that they were not adequately consulted.