Image of the December 2012 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
December 2012 Issue
Home / Articles / Big picture

The Great South Basin

Butterfield Beach on Rakiura/Stewart Island

This is Butterfield Beach on Rakiura Stewart Island. Just over the hill, in an abandoned quarry in Horseshoe Bay, Greymouth Petroleum has begun exploratory drilling for oil. It doesn’t matter whether they find oil or not – the reason the company is drilling is because it was granted a ‘drill or drop’ permit in 2007. If they don’t drill now they lose the rights to explore for oil in the Great South Basin as well as the right to extend their permit across Stewart Island.

According to Stewart Island local Dr Britt Moore this “sets a precedent for non-notified resource consent for oil exploration across the country”.

She believes oil threatens local jobs in the eco-tourism, fishing and conservation industries and money generated will end up offshore.

The government says this is about jobs and money.

– Fraser Crichton