The Government is considering all options to end the protest by environmental groups against the oil company Petrobras.
The protests have included swimmers blocking the path of Petrobras’ survey ship.
Because the protests are taking place outside New Zealand’s 12 mile limit, it is unclear what legal power authorities have to take action.
However, officials are working with ministers to devise a strategy to disrupt the protests.
Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that the protests were harming New Zealand’s national interests.
“These protesters are damaging the economy, and we won’t allow it. They’re a small minority who don’t represent ordinary New Zealanders.
“If they want to destroy the economy then they should first seek a mandate from the people and get themselves elected. That’s how I did it.”
Mr Key confirmed that a number of options were being considered to deal with the protests.
He confirmed that one option was to suck all of the oxygen out of the atmosphere around where the protesters were based, using a series of satellites, specially fitted supertankers, and a custom-designed submarine.
Another option being considered was fitting the ships engaged in surveying work with stealth technologies, so that protesters could not locate them.
It is also understood that government scientists are looking at the possibility of using seismic technologies to trigger a series of huge earthquakes that would shift New Zealand within 12 miles of the survey area. This would enable police to arrest all of the protesters.
An option that was shelved was unleashing a huge flock of killer birds to gouge out the eyes of the protesters. This scheme was discontinued after one of the birds escaped and turned on its handler, leaving the man in intensive care and on life support.
Acting Energy and Resources Minister Hekia Parata said she did not have any costings for the proposals, but anticipated that some of them might be “resource heavy”.
She said that giving oil companies freedom to do whatever they like in return for a modest royalty made good economic sense, especially for ministers who might like to sit on the boards of oil companies once they had finished with politics.
The Minister said she favoured a more down-scale solution.
“Why don’t we just pretend that the survey ships are in fact giant whales? If we disguise the vessels the activists may just let them through.”
Police Minister Judith Collins said she was keen for police to do everything they could to crack down on the protesters.
“I don’t even know what it is that they want or who they are, and frankly it doesn’t matter. We can’t have people thumbing their noses at authority. If we don’t crush them right now then before we can say ‘three strikes’ they’ll be singing protest songs criticising us.
“Not while I’m Minister for Police. Not on my watch.”
Update: 6.10pm: Environmental groups have now confirmed they will discontinue their protest, after Police Minister Judith Collins was spotted in the water near the protest swimmers.
Her appearance provoked panic and terror amongst the swimmers, with many scrambling to get on board their protest vessels.
It is understood that a number of the swimmers failed to make it back to their vessels, and several are now reported missing.