New Zealand bans new offshore oil exploration to tackle climate change

An oil rig between Stratford and Midhurst in Taranaki. Ardern will announce no more offshore exploration permits and

NZ brings an end to offshore licensing

Environmental lawyer Dayle Takitimu says the government announcement to end offshore oil exploration in New Zealand is a historic decision for Māori, and that it can act as a beacon for other indigenous peoples fighting against fossil fuel extraction. This has led to the biggest councils in New Zealand formally opposing the Block Offers.

Mr Madgwick, and New Zealand Oil & Gas chief executive Andrew Jefferies both emphasised the decision sent a worrying message to domestic and worldwide investors, about New Zealand as a place to invest and create jobs. The country is far from a major oil producer, which will probably facilitate its transition to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, before that achieving 100 percent renewable power generation by 2035.

"The key thing for us is that we want to see a plan", he said.

Fear of the economic costs have been strongest in the regions - Taranaki in particular - and New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom called the decision a "kick in the guts".

For years Māori have fought against major global oil companies, with 31 active oil and gas permits in the country now, the last of those is set to end in 2030.

One of the country's top energy companies, New Zealand Oil & Gas also said it had not been informed in advance about the decision, although it added the move will not affect its financial position immediately as it could continue with the projects it already has.

"When it comes to climate change, our approach is clear", said Ms. Ardern, " a member of the center-left Labor Party. "It certainly has nothing to do with climate change", he said.

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"No current jobs will be affected by this, as we are honouring all agreements with current permit holders", she said.

The National Party's energy and climate change spokespeople, Jonathan Young and Todd Muller, described the government's decision as "economic vandalism" that would "ensure the demise of an industry that provides over 8000 high paying jobs and $2.5 billion for the economy".

Mr Madgwick said there had been "no direct consultation" with the sector and asked the Government to "talk with the industry urgently".

Ardern surprised the oil and gas industry with her announcement, which won't impact the 22 existing exploration permits, Reuters said. "I don't think that's really the way the world's going", he told TV3. "Our current reserves will last less than 10 years - when they run out we will simply have to burn coal instead, which means twice the emissions".

Ardern came to power in New Zealand a year ago on a platform promising to deliver net zero emissions in New Zealand by 2050, and to take strong action to combat climate change.

A week later more than 200 protesters also blocked entrance to the New Zealand Petroleum Conference, during which the government held off on announcing any new permits and signalled it wanted to move away from fossil fuels. "Confidence among both overseas and domestic investors may be the longer-term casualty of today's decision", said Hope.

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