By Patrick Gower
3 News can reveal Prime Minister John Key made time in his diary this week for a secretive meeting with the boss of an oil company that wants to undertake deep sea drilling off New Zealand’s coast.
The company is controversial; it was party to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the biggest environmental disasters in history.
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Mr Key has been pretty busy the last few days but he still found time in his busy campaigning schedule on Tuesday to meet with James Hackett. Mr Hackett is the boss of Anadarko, which wants to do deep sea drilling off New Zealand’s coastline.
Anadarko had a 25 percent share in the deep sea drilling project known as Deepwater Horizon.
It went wrong and caused the Gulf of Mexico spill.
Deep sea drilling is controversial in New Zealand. The Green Party say that is why Mr Key wanted the visit kept quiet, just like the ‘teapot tapes’.
Green party co-leader Metiria Turei says Mr Key is ignoring New Zealander’s and their call for his transparency and honesty.
“At the same time he is holding secret meetings with people who have been responsible for catastrophic oil spills around the world,” says Ms Turei.
The Rena grounding off the coast of Tauranga in October drew New Zealand’s attention to oil spills – it held about 1700 tonnes of oil, maximum.
Deepwater Horizon gushed out a massive 627,000 tonnes.
Anadarko wants to explore deep sea drilling off the Taranaki coast and in the Great South Basin that would go to similar depths.
And 3 News has been told Mr Hackett, who was also on the board of oil giant Haliburton until earlier this year, was here on holiday and popped in to talk to Mr Key about it.
“The communities who have been out there scrabbling through the sand trying to get the oil out at this sensitive time, don't want to see the Prime Minister fraternising with these people at this time,” says Ms Turei.
So John Key can find time for a cup of tea when the big oil companies come knocking. It seems he probably just preferred nobody knew about this one.