The Government of New Zealand has tabled a bill in parliament to halt the issuance of new offshore permits for oil and gas exploration, to cut down greenhouse emissions.
Despite the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) stating that this move could imply NZD8bn ($5.31bn) in lost tax over a period of 23 years, the government is still advancing the legislation.
The Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill was tabled in parliament by energy minister Megan Woods. The bill is intended to give effect to the government’s decision in April to stop granting new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration.
Megan Woods said: “All existing permits are protected and will be allowed to run their full course, meaning we have many years’ worth of gas supply remaining and exploration will continue.”
Under the bill, future Block Offers will not include any new offshore permits for exploration and will be limited to only onshore Taranaki in the North Island.
Commenting on the ban, Woods clarified: “We can’t expect to rely on fossil fuels for our jobs and prosperity forever. The world is moving away from them and we have to be ready. That’s why we are planning for the transition now to ensure we are creating jobs in new industries and in new forms of energy.”
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Welcoming the move, Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand executive director Dr Russel Norman said: “The science says that we can’t afford to burn most of the known fossil fuels reserves if we are to avoid climate catastrophe, and so the government should be congratulated for calling time on new oil exploration here.”