Climate change protesters pulled from SkyCity entrance

  • 21/03/2016
Protesters block the SkyCity entrance (Aziz Al-Sa'afin)
Protesters block the SkyCity entrance (Aziz Al-Sa'afin)

Greenpeace protesters blocking the entrance to Auckland's SkyCity convention centre have been removed by police as a petroleum summit goes on inside.

SkyCity is hosting a gathering of domestic and international oil industry people at the annual Petroleum Conference.

There was a heavy police presence as the protesters sat in front of several entrances around the venue, singing and propping large signs up against the doors.

Climate change protesters pulled from SkyCity entrance

As the number of frustrated attendees waiting outside the doors built up, organisers began quietly shuffling delegates through side doors.

They declined to say if there would be delays to the programme.

At about 9:30am a large contingent of police officers began dragging some protesters away after they refused to move from the centre's main entrance.

They were released after being picked up and moved a few metres.

Former Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, now Greenpeace's NZ boss, was among them.

Police have now put up fences to create a corridor through the vocal blockade.

Protest organisers say they plan to stay until after lunch.

One of them, former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, said she desperately wanted to stop climate change for her grandchildren.

"The Government's not going to take action so the people have to," she said.

"A lot of people understand this is the issue we have to solve if there is going to be a future."

The activists are made up of a variety of anti-drilling and mining groups from around the country.

Conference speaker University of Otago senior research analyst Katharina Ruckstuhl spoke to a crowd blocking one door, telling them no one wanted climate change but that dialogue with oil companies was important.

"If your community is on the coast or your whakapapa is on the coast, you don't have the privilege of just walking away," she said.

Organiser and climate campaigner Steve Abel said the protest was a step up from a march that had been held the last three years.

"We've tried every means possible to get our government stop colluding with the oil industry. Lobby, petitioning, marching, peaceful protests … and yet the just keep showing up ever my year," he said.

Newshub. / NZN