A pity it can’t apply to Sea Shepherd also

NZ Herald reports:

Proposed new offences could mean harsher penalties for protesters who interfere with offshore petroleum and minerals exploration.

If passed into law, the changes to the Crown Minerals Bill would help protect “legitimate exploration”, Minister of Energy and Resources Simon Bridges told TV One’s Q+A programme yesterday.

The first offence would stop deep sea protesters “from doing dangerous acts, damaging and interfering with legitimate business interests with ships”, he said. This could result in 12 months’ jail or a $50,000 to $100,000 fine depending on whether it was for an individual or body corporate.

A lesser offence for entering a specified area, probably within 500m of a ship, would carry a fine up to $10,000.

The offences would apply within New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone – the fourth largest in the world at more than four million sq km.

“This is not about stopping legitimate democratic protest. There are a range of ways people can protest – at a company’s front door, on the street, actually still out at sea.”

This is about the difference between protest and interference. Protest is our God given right. Interference with someone else going about their legal business is not a right – it is in fact an offence. The problem has been the penalties are so low, that there is no deterrent.

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