Greenpeace labels coalition plan to reverse oil and gas exploration ban a ‘pipe

The coalition government is pushing ahead with plans to reverse the ban on oil and gas exploration outside onshore Taranaki.

Legislation to undo the 2018 ban will be introduced to parliament in the second half of this year, Resources Minister Shane Jones announced Sunday.

“When the exploration ban was introduced by the previous government in 2018, it not only halted the exploration needed to identify new sources, but it also shrank investment in further development of our known gas fields which sustain our current levels of use.

“Without this investment, we are now in a situation where our annual natural gas production is expected to peak this year and undergo a sustained decline, meaning we have a security of supply issue barrelling towards us.”

Greenpeace dismissed Jones’ plans as a “pipe dream”.

“Shane Jones is dreaming. The oil exploration industry won’t risk coming back to Aotearoa because they know that it’s not worth coming all this way to fail again,” Greenpeace’s Niamh O’Flynn said Sunday.

Ngāti Ruanui seabed mining protest. Photo / File

O’Flynn said, together with iwi and hapū, “we fought tirelessly to push oil company after oil company out of the country and we succeeded.”

She singled out “OMV, Anadarko, Statoil and more” as examples of companies that had “wasted years and millions of dollars in a futile attempt to get a foothold here.

“[T]hey know they’d face even more resistance now, so they won’t be back because of this government’s flip-flop.”

“Oil and gas won’t win in Aotearoa,” she said.

Highlighting Saturday’s protest action against the fast-track bill, O’Flynn said the government risks a “massive backlash” and being a “one-term government” if it chooses to “ignore the will of the people”.

Fast track bill protestors in Auckland on Saturday. Photo / Sylvie Whinray / NZME

Jones said the reversal of the ban is part of a suite of proposed amendments to the Crown Minerals Act.

“I want a considered discussion about how we use our natural resources to improve the security and affordability of energy and resources supplies, stimulate regional economic development opportunities, and increase New Zealand’s self-sufficiency to protect against volatile international markets.”

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