Trans Tasman maritime unions meet with NZ politicians in Chevron campaign

A global campaign against oil operator Chevron has come to New Zealand, with maritime unions saying the company has a bad record of dealing with local communities around the world.

Newly elected Maritime Union of Australia Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey, lead negotiator for the offshore oil and gas industry in Western Australia, met with a group of parliamentarians in Wellington on 22 July 2015 to raise awareness of problems that local communities have experienced with Chevron.

Chevron are a new entrant into the New Zealand oil and gas industry. The company was recently awarded three offshore exploration permits in the Pegasus Basin, in partnership with StatOil. Chevron is the operator.

Mr Tracey says that unions understand Chevron has begun consultation with their local stakeholders.

He says he has a personal interest in bringing this campaign to New Zealand, as he has strong family connections to the Wellington area with immediate family from the Hongoeka Bay Pa, as well as living there as a young boy. He is affiliated to the Ng?ti Toa iwi on his grandfather’s side and Ng?i Tahu on his grandmothers.

“We want to ensure all of these stakeholders receive the full picture of Chevron’s activities around the world. We are talking to workers, politicians, environmental groups, iwi, and local communities about problems with Chevron’s engagement with indigenous communities, their stewardship of the natural environment, and their workforce relations.”

The visit follows a protest outside the New Zealand consulate in Perth, Western Australia, on 12 May 2015, where Australian and New Zealand maritime workers were joined by supporters to register their concerns with Chevron entering the New Zealand offshore industry.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Joe Fleetwood, who also attended the meeting, says the presence of Chevron is not welcomed by New Zealand maritime workers.

Mr Fleetwood says Maritime Union members work in the offshore oil and gas industry, but did not support companies that have a bad environmental record and anti-worker agenda entering our industry.

“The natural resources of New Zealand must be used to the benefit of New Zealand workers and the people of New Zealand, not simply to boost profits for multinational operators. Chevron have failed to deliver elsewhere and we are warning the people of New Zealand to be wary of this corporation.”

Chevron is the operator of Australia’s largest LNG (liquified natural gas) project Gorgon, on the remote northern coast of Western Australia, which has disappointed local communities by failing to meet commitments for local jobs and to local businesses, poor safety and other conditions for workers, massive cost overruns and project mismanagement in its construction phase.

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