June 11, 2018
Fingers pointed at oil ships in whale deaths
Questions are being asked about whether there is a connection between seismic testing and the number of dead sperm whales washing up in south Taranaki.
Climate Justice Taranaki wants to know whether blasts from the testing ship Amazon Warrior over summer injured the 13 whales, displaced them from their feeding grounds or weakened them by added stress.
The Department of Conservation says seismic testing stopped at the end of March so it's unlikely there was any connection, but the state of decomposition of the whales makes it extremely hard to say what killed them.
Debbie Ngarewa Packer from Ngati Ruanui says there have been a lot of prayers said over the whales and a lot of questions asked.
"It's sort of OK to say it's not this, it's not that, but the reality is there is so much traffic in these whales' back yard it's hard not to think there is not a connection. The amount that have arrived is unprecedented and they are otherwise in really good condition," she says.
Ms Packer says the south Taranaki community feels overwhelmed and powerless in the face of the oil companies, and people are wary of the Department of Conservation because of its role in approving oil and gas exploration.
Copyright © 2018, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com