Climate protesters to target OMV headquarters next

Hundreds of people are preparing to form a human barricade around an oil company's New Plymouth headquarters. 

It's the latest in a series of rolling actions against OMV, the last major overseas oil company operating here.

Greenpeace New Zealand programme director Niamh O'Flynn hopes they stir the pot.

"People are going to be shutting down 'business as usual' for the company," she told Newshub.

OMV is currently preparing to start oil drilling off the Taranaki coast. While the Government has banned much future exploration and drilling, existing contracts will be honoured and there are exceptions in some regions.

O'Flynn says enough is enough.

"We're over it. We're in a climate crisis, and we need to see no more deep-sea oil off our coast."

OMV has told its approximately 300 staff to work from home, calling the protests an "inconvenience" but respecting people's right to protest.

The company says it's making contingency plans, with protesters expected to cause three days of disruptions.

Tipping points

Scientists last week said the Earth is reaching a number of "tipping points" after which changes to the climate will be largely irreversible, and there is a "planetary emergency". 

"This is an existential threat to civilisation," climate scientists led by Tim Lenton of the University of Exeter said. "No amount of economic cost-benefit analysis is going to help us. The stability and resilience of our planet is in peril."

While international agreements in recent years such as that made in Paris have focused on keeping temperature rises to between 1.5C and 2C, scientists now say that might not be enough to stop devastating changes.

"The ultimate risk is that these tipping points can create a cascade, like a row of dominoes tipping down the line," said Will Steffen, emeritus professor at the Australian National University.

"We don't think that the cascade has been activated yet, but several of the dominoes are starting the wobble."

Police removed protesters who occupied an OMV vessel last week.

O'Flynn says protesters are "prepared" to do what it takes.

"We've had so much support from local people in New Plymouth and from all across the country. We've just had people turning up to help all over the show."

Extinction Rebellion protesters defaced National Party leader Simon Bridges' office at the weekend, dumping molasses over his front door and steps. 

"I respect your right to protest Extinction Rebellion but not when it comes to defacing people's property as you've done to my electorate office overnight," Bridges responded on Twitter.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: