Oil and gas ban clearly short-sighted

Beach Energy’s decision to abandon existing exploration permits off the South Island as a result of the Government’s oil and gas ban comes as no surprise, National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Barbara Kuriger says.

“What the Government called a ‘just transition’ to plan for the future was nothing but short sighted policy to appear as a leader on the global stage in climate transitions.

“Officials warned the decision would cost billions in royalties, destroy thousands of jobs and likely increase global emissions, yet the Prime Minister and Energy Minister Megan Woods still ploughed ahead with its ideological policy.

“That warning is proving true. Beach Energy abandoning their existing exploration permits has effectively ended any offshore exploration outside Taranaki.

“It’s a blow to Otago’s economy and will mean significant job losses. Gas exports could have helped our recovery from the Covid-19 economic crisis.

“Before the Minister announced the ban more than 100,000 square kilometres was available for exploration. A few years later only 21,000 square kilometres remains.

“We were told by the Government that despite the ban New Zealand would have enough gas to carry us through to 2050, its clear now we won’t.

“The ban has also done nothing to reduce the impacts of climate change on a global scale.

“A significant gas find in the South Island would allow industries presently reliant on coal to transition to lower-emissions fuel, while boosting New Zealand’s exports.

“Instead, Labour’s decision to pull the rug out from a key industry for our economic recovery has seen the energy sector lose confidence in New Zealand.”