OSOF welcomes the news that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a ban on future offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand.
The announcement was made on the 12th of April 2018 alongside Green party Co-leader, James Shaw, and New Zealand First regional Economic Development Minister, Shane Jones.
By banning future oil exploration, New Zealand has stood up to the powerful fossil fuel industry by denying all new offshore oil and gas permits. The decision will not immediately impact the 22 active permits for offshore oil and gas that remain.
With the Government’s plans to transition towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, and a goal of achieving 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035, Ardern has indicated that she is proud of the move saying, “transitions have to start somewhere”.
The government is also preparing for the move by making sure that “jobs that are there today will remain tomorrow”, Ardern said.
“We’re striking the right balance for New Zealand – we’re protecting existing industry, and protecting future generations from climate change.”
Ardern was surprised that this news came of shock to the oil and gas industry, saying that Labour had met with representatives from the sector and clearly implied their intent to transition towards a zero-carbon economy.
Meanwhile, National is labelling the move “economic vandalism that makes no environmental sense” with National leader Simon Bridges calling the move a “political stunt”.
“Without exploration there will be no investment in oil and gas production or the downstream industries. That means significantly fewer jobs,” said National Party energy spokesman Jonathan Young.
“Environmental protection and combating climate change is a global responsibility, and it is great to see New Zealand take this step.”says Noel Jhinku, OSOF Trustee.
Despite these claims, OSOF stands by the Government’s decision to ban further permits for offshore oil and gas exploration in our waters. Alongside the ongoing environmental impacts of fossil fuel use, seismic blasting for oil can have both physical and long term behavioural impacts on sea mammals such as the endangered Maui dolphin.