One of the lies that has been repeated a lot lately is that the Government has banned protest at sea. It has of course done no such thing. It has banned protests within 500 metres of a mining or drilling operation. That is an area of one quarter of a square kilometre.
The NZ EEZ is approx 4.3 million square kms. So the area where you can not protest is 0.0000058%, or one part in 17.2 million.
So to put it another way, you can protest in 99.9999942% of the NZ EEZ.
Why has protest been banned in the 500 metres around a mining or drilling operation. Because inevitably they are trying to actually interfere or sabotage the company’s legal operations.
Compare it to a land based mine. Are you allowed to enter the mine’s property and protest at the entrance to the mine? No. it is private property.
Now on water it is not quite the same, as you have a licence to use, not to own. but all that has happened is that Parliament has effectively said the licence to mine or drill in an area includes an area of 0.25 square kms from the drilling. Within that area, you can’t enter without permission.
So there is nothing stopping scores and scores of ships heading out to sea and protesting mining and drilling. They can display whatever banners they want. They can say whatever they want. They can invite along all the media they want.
All they can’t do is come within quarter of a square kilometre of the actual drilling operation. Now you can have a view that they should be able to. You can have a view that a smaller limit would be more appropriate. but what you can’t do is lie and say protest at sea has been banned.
[DPF: Update – it is around 0.79 of a square km, not 0.25. For some reason I was thinking squares not circles. The overall point remains, but it is around one part in five to six million]