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Govt conscious of deep sea drilling dangers - Key

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Wellington, May 31 NZPA - The Government is taking notice of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and will soon outline its position on environmental standards for deep sea drilling, Prime Minister John Key says.

The Green Party is calling on the Government to put offshore oil exploration on hold until the exact cause of the catastrophe in the Gulf is identified, and ways are found to prevent the same thing happening elsewhere.

The Government has initiated an oil drilling exploration programme in the deep waters of the Great South Basin off the New Zealand coast, and the Greens say sensitive ecosystems would be damaged if an oil spill occurred there.

The Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf exploded on April 20 and since then between 68 million and 150m litres of crude oil has leaked from the ruptured pipe.

"We've certainly been aware of what's been happening overseas and we are monitoring it," Mr Key said today at his post-cabinet press conference.

"There is a recognition from the Government that there is a need for good environmental standards for offshore drilling in our economic zone."

Mr Key said Environment Minister Nick Smith was considering the issue "and I think you'll find in the very foreseeable future he will be outlining his thinking in that area".

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