A security guard has become an unlikely hero to Wellington protesters.
Protesters trying to get oil giant OMV out of New Zealand wanted to deliver a 30,000-strong petition to the company, based at the Majestic Centre at Willis St, on Wednesday morning.
But a security guard warned the 100-odd protesters they would be trespassing if they entered the building.
However the security guard turned from villain to hero when he told protesters that 99 per cent of people in the building, including himself, supported the cause.
He then brokered a deal that he would personally take the petition. OMV workers had taken the day off, he said.
Police and private security were on alert as Greenpeace and other activist groups tried to evict the Austrian oil giant from New Zealand on Wednesday morning.
Eviction notices being stuck to the Majestic Centre windows by protesters were being torn down as soon as getting put up.
The protesters at the Willis St entrance, where they are chanting from the footpath they have been banished to.
About 100 protesters arrived on Wednesday morning outside the Majestic Centre in an attempt to drill the message home.
Greenpeace campaigner Steve Abel said the 30,000 signatures had been printed on cards.
Abel had originally planned for those cards to be stuffed in a fish tank, mounted on a trolley, which they would attempt to roll into the Majestic Centre foyer.
The application to discharge trace amounts of the substance from the deck drains of a mobile offshore drilling unit has prompted a three-day hearing, which started in Dunedin in late July. Under OMV’s Great South Basin permit, the company is required to drill one exploration well before July 10, 2021.
If it wants to hold onto the permit after that, it can only do so on condition it drills two further exploration wells by July 10, 2022.
Abel said, “The waters where it will be operating are alive with with a multitude of rare and endangered species, including dolphins, whales, penguins, albatross, seals and sealions”.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an end to new offshore oil exploration permits in April 2018.
All existing permits were protected under the Government’s plans. The last of the permits ends in 2030.
There are 28 current permits for off-shore oil drilling that have been issued, with some that could possibly be extended to see drilling past 2050.