A hundred pairs of hands stretched across the sand at low tide on Ngarunui Beach last Saturday, making a silent but powerful statement against offshore drilling along our coast.
The local KASM and Greenpeace supporters were one of six protest groups around the country who joined Saturday’s global demonstration Hands Across the Sands — a movement which spread soon after BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago.

“It’s such an important issue,” said longtime Raglan resident Cynthia Tucker, one of the many to add her support to a cause which protest organisers point out has huge relevance locally.
For Raglan people it’s the “twin threats” of strip mining the seabed and deep-sea oil drilling in New Zealand waters, KASM’s Phil McCabe reminded those at the beach on Saturday afternoon. He warned of the “big, greedy eyes” of Trans-Tasman Resources, a Wellington-based mining company which has extensive foreign shareholding and exclusive rights to minerals in an area covering 10,000 square kilometres of our seabed.

Although the company’s first application is for an area not directly off Raglan’s coast, Phil earlier called it a “precedent-setting” case which if the permit is granted would make things much easier for subsequent applications both by TTR — which wants to extract four billion tonnes of concentrated iron ore from South Taranaki to the Kaipara Harbour — and other foreign-owned mining companies which have rights over huge areas of New Zealand waters.

Back in March this year 200 locals turned out to join KASM’s silent protest on the one-way Raglan West bridge, directed at TTR’s visiting representative Andrew Sommerville.
“KASM is going to need your help (again),” Phil told Saturday’s protest. “We need really loud, broad spectrum opposition to this proposal or it’ll happen.”

Edith Symes

Image thanks to Tim Rainger