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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Costs of exploitation

The NZ government - especially, but not exclusively under National - will put the interests of foreign oil companies ahead of the fishing rights and any other rights of the indigenous people every time. It's part of the colonial economy - the basis of the colonial economy. The exploitation of "free" resources (ie. resources confiscated off indigenous people) happens in many countries where the settler-colonists run the state. The exploitation is more obvious when the state forcibly evicts on the land; but on water initiating the confiscation manifests itself in the tresspass needed to enforce it - thus the law change to criminalise protest in the NZ EEZ.

The NZ government authorised the NZ Defence Force - the Royal NZ Navy in the actual instance - to do unlawfully what the new law of theirs now says they can do legally. Sad, but consistent. The use of the military for domestic protest action wasn't much commented on at the time, presumably because it is accepted the NZ Police didn't have the capacity. The precedent for military-police operations domestically stems all the way from before the Land wars to the Northern War most likely - and the latest I can recall is the Bastion Point operation in the 1970s where branches of the military were used. What a lamentable history of oppression. And it continues - a million dollars and a whole taskforce for a guy and his fishing boat. It should have been billed to Petrobras.

NZ Herald:
The Defence Force and New Zealand police were sent to the Raukumara Basin in April 2011 when a protest flotilla led by an East Cape iwi interfered with Brazilian company Petrobras' seismic surveys.
Tauranga fisherman Elvis Teddy was arrested by police, but the charges were dropped because the incident took place outside New Zealand's 12-mile territorial limit.
The High Court overturned this decision, and Energy Minister Simon Bridges introduced an amendment to clarify the law and create new offences covering interference with mining companies on the high seas.
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment documents show the Defence Force deployment was estimated to cost $1.08 million, based on the deployment of two patrol vessels and personnel for 40 days.
The direct cost to police was estimated at $585,000, which included sending 12 full-time staff to the region for 42 days.
As a result of the protests, Petrobras had to halt its surveys for nearly two days. It has since handed back its exploration licences for New Zealand waters.
Mr Bridges' law change, which was passed last week, means protesters who intentionally damage or interfere with mining sites or vessels which are outside New Zealand's 12-mile limit risk up to a year in prison, or fines of up to $50,000 for a person or $100,000 for an organisation.
The law also gives police and Defence Force personnel power to board protesters' ships and arrest and detain them.

I wonder how other countries approach these issues? For Greenpeace and local protesters it's facist bully-boy bullshit, but it's also a militarisation of the sea - that's how other countries may view this. We have overlapping EEZ issues with Fiji and Tonga - is NZ going to use this law to enforce NZ claims in their areas?


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