Protest fine, interference not

Isaac Davidson at NZ Herald reports:

A protest which halted a mining giant’s oil exploration on New Zealand’s high seas and prompted a controversial law change cost taxpayers nearly $1.7 million, documents show.

A pity we can’t send someone the bill.

Protesters’ ships came within 20m of the Petrobras-commissioned Orient Explorer, and some activists swam 200m in front of the vessel, forcing it to veer off course. Officials said seismic vessels could not immediately stop because they were pulling long seismic “streamers” or lines, and if they veered too far from their course it could take four hours to loop back to their original path.

And that is the difference between protest and interference.

If I don’t like the Interislander I can sail all around Wellington Harbour with protest signs saying “Interislander should go”.

But what I can’t do is park my yacht 20 metres in front of their wharf, so they can’t dock. That is interfering with their operations.

The same goes for further out at sea. Protest to your heart’s content. But if you take actions that force a law abiding ship to be unable to do activities it has been granted permission to do – that is and should be illegal.

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