The horror show of the Government’s lack of process on the decision to end offshore exploration runs on and on, National Energy and Resources spokesperson Jonathan Young says.
“Without a shadow of a doubt the Government’s statements about how the decision to end oil and gas exploration was made were extremely misleading.
“Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods’ repeated claims to have consulted with the hydrocarbon sector – a requirement of the law she operates under – have been revealed as baseless with the revelation that not even the Cabinet discussed the decision.
“In a reply to my questions in late April, Woods said, ‘On 9 April 2018 Cabinet noted my intentions regarding Block Offer 2018 and associated policy considerations.’
“Alarmingly the Minister is now undertaking a retrospective process, attempting to back-fill her decision by saying she intends to prepare a Cabinet paper in the near future setting out the full details of this new policy.
“This is unacceptable. Taking an oral item to Cabinet on a decision that affects thousands of jobs not only in Taranaki but right across the country is scandalous, and legally perilous.
“This lack of process, which impacts a whole industry and potentially thousands of careers, is the type of decision the Crown Minerals Act is designed to protect New Zealanders from.
“Further, the Prime Minister’s press release announcing decision says ‘Officials will begin work on a review of the Crown Minerals Act to ensure the Act is consistent with this announcement,’ suggesting the Government was aware its move may be inconsistent with the law.
“The Crown Minerals Act specifies a clear process by which decisions are to be made to minimise sovereign risk for investors and for the New Zealand Government, and those processes don’t appear to have been followed.
“That is why there is potential legal action being prepared against the Government.
“This Government has delivered a decision without consultation with the sector it affects; without a cost-benefit analysis from Treasury; without an understanding of whether domestic or global emissions will be reduced and without any appreciation of what a constrained gas market will do for prices.
“Now we discover there’s no Cabinet paper nor any considered discussion by the Cabinet.
“This is the worst form of decision making any government could impose on a community and an industry.”