Against hydraulic fracturing in 100% pure NZ sign now

Dear Minister and readers.

This petition calls our acting minister of Energy and Resources, Hekia Parata, to review her continued support of the use of hydraulic fracturing in New Zealand, in light of the argument presented here, which is a synthesis of a letter recently emailed to the minister. In no way do I mean to belittle the ministers own expertise and wisdom. I acknowledge, however, that when making decisions outside our fields of expertise it can be difficult to identify all of the factors critical in decision making. That is why we, the public, with our significant knowledge base, present this petition.


Fluids used in pressuring fracture sites can be strongly toxic. Some of the chemicals in these solutions are harmless (salts, water etc), but some such as benzenes and lead compounds can cause infertility and are carcinogenic in humans and other animals (inc. birds, reptiles, and invertebrates). A great number of our freshwater invertebrates have evolved in relatively pristine and stable environments, which means that many are not equipped to deal with large changes in water chemistry, making them especially vulnerable.

These toxins accumulate up food chains in the same way that mercury is propagated from low levels in oceanic plankton to high levels in top-tier predators such as dolphins. This means that native NZ birds and lizards in the areas will accumulate large doses of any toxic chemicals present in the frackwater, which will be drawn up in the water taken in by plant life, magnified through the food chain via herbivorous insects (e.g. aphids) to higher concentrations in larger insects (e.g. grasshoppers and spiders) before being passed on at high levels to the insectivorous NZ vertebrates. These carcinogens can interfere with reproductive abilities (especially benzenes; reducing rates of reproduction) and with tolerance physiology such as blood chemistry and organ function (increasing mortality).

In this way, the contamination of groundwaters for the purpose of extracting gas directly influences the survival rates and population abundance of all animals within the effected area. Declines in abundance and species diversity are shown to impact ecosystem function, potentially degrading productivity in the affected areas. The dispersal abilities of many insects (and birds) extends the impact of HF beyond the immediate area, and these toxins are returned to the base of the food chain wherever these insects and birds perish. This means that frackwater toxins can be distributed in unpredictable ways, and that both wild game and domesticated livestock in neighbouring sites can come into contact with these toxins without our knowledge. Many people are unaware of this, and you will be hard-pressed to implement widespread testing of agricultural products within and around the target areas between Timaru and Amberly.

There has been some conjecture about HF inducing earthquakes which is partly hearsay, but also of concern. I would recommend referring to the US geological survey, which notes that groundward injection of fluids as a means of waste disposal has a documented history of triggering earthquakes. If this were to occur at any site in NZ, the potential for groundwater contamination becomes much much higher, and given the recent and projected seismic activity in the South Island, this is strongly unadvisable.

Hydraulic fracturing is banned in France, and suspended in parts of Canada, the U.S., and Australia. If you proceed to support this in New Zealand, I strongly recommend tracing methyl compounds from frack sites and testing for their presence in waterways and agricultural products. This will provide evidence of leaks to those who are not convinced of the contamination dangers. I also recommend the use of grey water in place of freshwater given the millions of gallons that HF can consume, and the already contaminated state of 90% of our limited freshwater resources.

If that National party continues to play patsy for the economic entities pushing for further natural resource extraction at the expense of New Zealand's '100% purity', be ready to explain your insistence in the face of strong public criticism.

With concern, and kind regards
Dean Harliwich

To the reader - Thank you. Please vote, sign and reshare if you support this. Kia kaha, aroha nui. If you are looking for more info, wikipedia is a good place to start (, and the Gasland trailer on youtube gives a quick overview ( This petition does not discuss the impact of airborne contamination, which is very much a part of the whole fracking problem, but one thing at a time ;-)

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Dweano SnarliwichBy:
Nature and EnvironmentIn:
Petition target:
Acting Min. En. Res. Hekia Parata, and all those currently supporting hydraulic fracturing.


conservation, environment, mining, national, resources, water


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