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New Zealand bans new oil and gas exploration permits

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods have announced that there will be no further oil and gas exploration permits granted. Exceptions will be limited to onshore acreage in Taranaki in western New Zealand.

“We are protecting existing exploration and mining rights,” the prime minster said. “No current jobs will be affected by this as we are honoring all agreements with current permit holders. There are 31 oil and gas exploration permits currently active, and 22 are offshore. These permits cover an area of 100,000 sq km, nearly the size of the North Island, and run as far out as 2030 and could go an additional 40 years under a mining permit.”

“Today we are providing certainty for industry and communities so they can plan for the future. We are making careful and considered changes over time and supporting communities with a managed transition. We will be working with the Taranaki community and businesses in particular on this as a long-term project, and I will be visiting myself later in May to underline this government’s commitment to ensuring there is a just transition to a clean energy future.

“Last week’s announcement of the Taranaki action plan was a first step in that process.

“All three of the parties in this government are agreed that we must take this step as part of our package of measures to tackle climate change. I’m grateful for the support of New Zealand First in ensuring the transition away from fossil fuels protects jobs and helps regions equip themselves for the future. I also thank the Green Party for their continued advocacy for action on climate change.

“In each of the last two years, only one permit has been granted for offshore oil and gas exploration. This decision does not affect current reserves or the potential finds from current exploration permits. As the industry itself admits, there is good potential for more to be found.

“This is a responsible step, which provides certainty for businesses and communities that rely on fossil fuels. We’re striking the right balance for New Zealand. We’re protecting existing industry and protecting future generations from climate change.”

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