Extinction Rebellion protest forces MBIE into lock down

By D'Angelo Martin

Extinction Rebellion Protesters a are gaining momentum across the globe, a group in Wellington created chaos in the CBD, forcing the Ministry of Bussiness Innovation and Employment (MBIE) into lockdown. 

The protest started early hours this morning and was an attempt to raise awareness on climate change and the factors that contribute to the issue.

MBIE is New Zealand's ministry for oil, gas, and minerals. Extinction Rebellion disagrees with how they operate and have put the office on lockdown. "We're here to stand up for workers and poor people and indigenous people who are suffering under the economic policies of industries like MB who are propping quote capitalism, capitalism thrives off the exploitation of people and the planet," says Tuhia Bailey who was at the protest today.

MBIE acting CEO Adrian Regnault says that "New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals, which sits inside ERM, is responsible for the stewardship of the Crown Minerals Estate for the benefit of all New Zealanders and as a regulator has a vision of a minerals and petroleum industry that responsibly delivers value to New Zealand."

Tuhia Bailey is from Taranaki and is concerned with the mass area of exploration that currently exists on the west coast of the North Island, "Some of the main issues we have are intensive industrial agriculture and oil and gas drilling, and MB sit behind those industries and propping up the capitalist agenda of basically mining our soils mining our whenua and our seas to make money for companies often not even from New Zealand."

MBIE staff were encouraged to work from home or another MBIE office today where possible. Staff received several communications from late last week, including text messages and emails, advising them that currently all access to the building is closed

To add to that, the protest was a disruptive protest conducted on the main streets of Wellington. The aim to get the message across by causing as much disruption as possible. 

Haimana Hirini, who came to support the kaupapa, says we need to protect Papatūānuku.

"This is the whole underlining cause of climate change that we're facing now and may stop our children from having a decent future," Bailey says.

Organisers believe that an extra 60 protests like this will be conducted by the group in cities around the world.