Gisborne District Councillor Manu Caddie is welcoming news that the Christchurch City Council yesterday agreed to call on the government to put a moratorium in place until a full independent inquiry has been conducted.
Mr Caddie said it was encouraging to see the first local authority take a precautionary approach on the issue given the lack of knowledge about the practice in New Zealand.
“Glaring gaps in a report released last month by the Taranaki Regional Council that was supposed to reassure the public on the safety of fracking simply reinforced growing concerns about the practice” said Mr Caddie.
Recent reports from the United States Geological Survey and a fracking company in the UK that confirm the link between earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing have raised serious concerns about the practice worldwide.
“The TRC report provides no independent scientific evidence on the safety of the practice in relation to seismic activity, nor does it provide information on the rate of well casing failures and provides little detail on waste management and disposal options” said Mr Caddie.
Mr Caddie said he is waiting to hear back from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment who is considering requests to undertake an independent inquiry into fracking.
“We need that inquiry to also consider the bigger picture questions of how oil and gas compare to coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions as there are conflicting reports on which fossil fuels contribute more to climate change.”
Mr Caddie said he hopes the Christchurch City Council decision will put pressure on the government to put a moratorium in place similar to what South Africa has at present – or it could follow France and ban the practice outright in favour of renewable energy sources.
“Apache Corporation claims France banned fracking to protect its nuclear industry but the French government has suggested it may no longer source electricity from nuclear power as early as 2040″  said Mr Caddie.