Last week in the Tauranga District Court, Justice Treston threw out charges against Elvis Teddy, the fisherman who used his small boat to oppose the Government’s plans to allow deep sea oil drilling in his fishing grounds off the East Cape, last April.
“The Judge ruled that the section of law the authorities were operating under had no jurisdiction past 12 nautical miles from the coast, yet the police went ahead anyway and arrested Elvis,” Simon Boxer from Greenpeace says.
“Yet again the Government’s desire to kowtow to international oil giants has led it to shoot first and ask the hard questions later.
“The Government wants to have it both ways. On one hand it illegitimately extends its authority beyond 12 nautical miles to stop peaceful protest, while at the same time it is pushing the deliberately weak EEZ Bill through Parliament, after the oil permits have been granted, which does not even meet New Zealand’s obligations under the International Law of the Sea - let alone protect our coastlines,” Boxer says.
“The charges against Elvis Teddy are highly politicised. Remember that the Captain of the Rena was on the same/similar charges but he grounded a ship and caused an oil disaster but Elvis Teddy did the opposite. He was out there trying to prevent an oil disaster from happening. The charges seem to be aimed at trying to prevent people opposing the Government’s irresponsible exploration agenda”, says Ms Dayle Takitimu spokesperson for Te Whanau a Apanui .
But what does the decision mean for the future ? Can we all protest beyond the 12 mile limit ?
Changes ahead, do we think ?