It appears that Hekia Parata is a liar. From The Gisborne Herald:
Gisborne District councillor Manu Caddie accused her of lying, or “deliberately misleading the public”, in an article in The Gisborne Herald on Saturday in which she said the exploration permit would involve only 2D and 3D data gathering, not drilling.
But Manu Caddie says this was a blatant lie.
The permit signed last year by her predecessor allowed the company to drill one exploratory well within 60 months of the commencement of the permit, he said in a written statement.
To her credit, she later acknowledged her dishonesty:
She acknowledged this morning that the exploration permit granted to Petrobras allowed Petrobras to drill an exploration well.
However, she did no forget to offer a pretext:
“A decision on whether an exploration well will be drilled is dependent on the outcome of the 2D and 3D seismic survey” she said.
Hekia is in an uncomfortable position. On a personal level, her people (Ngati Porou) are firmly against oil exploration and any consequent activities. However, on an ideological level, the idea of mineral exploitation appeals to Hekia’s neoliberal tendencies. This is possibly an oversimplification, but the choice appears to be between representing the views of her people or toeing the party line. It’s a shame she did not chose the former.