20 Jan 2014

Govt should fund oil monitoring - iwi

7:26 pm on 20 January 2014

Northland iwi Te Rarawa wants to set up its own monitoring regime to keep an eye on oil exploration in the area.

Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has been granted a permit to undertake oil exploration in the Reinga Northland area.

Te Runanga o Te Rarawa considers itself kaitiaki (guardian) of that territory and doesn't believe it has enough information to support exploration.

Chairman Haami Piripi says it will take a proposal to the Government to enable iwi representatives to establish a monitoring programme of Statoil's activities.

He says the Government should resource tangata whenua to monitor these activities, and it would be suspect if it doesn't.

Exploration can not be granted wholesale without the research, and understanding that can be gained from a hands-on monitoring regime.

Mr Piripi says people can't rely solely on Statoil's internal monitoring systems, and that the company has no objections in principle to the plan.

It would be folly not to engage with the company in a way that was going to fulfil some of the tribe's kaitiaki duties, he said.