In September the Government announced its plans to remove the public’s right to oppose deep-sea oil and gas exploration permits. A law change would see applications by oil giants go through the Environmental Protection Agency, but they would be “non-notified,” which means members of the public would not get to have a say. Around 70 protesters met outside Parliament with tape over their mouths symbolizing Government attempts to silence public opposition on deep sea oil drilling. Climate change group 350 Aotearoa organised the protest and was supported by Oil Free Wellington. “Deep sea drilling should be a prohibited activity given that, if there is a leak from a deep sea oil rig, the consequence for New Zealand’s environment, economy and reputation would be catastrophic. If the Government is going to recklessly allow it to happen, then at the very least, the public should have a say on each and every proposal,” Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said. The move follows the controversial “Anadarko Amendment” which saw a ban on protesting at sea and is to be introduced to the Marine Legislation Bill through a Supplementary Order Paper and not through a select committee.