Tauranga Labour Party list MP Angie Warren-Clark has praised her government's ending of new offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand as choosing a ‘sensible path'.
The announcement, made to today, doesn't affect existing exploration permits or wells, and Angie says no existing jobs will be affected.
“As a member of the Environment Select Committee, I regularly hear submissions and read reports about the effects climate change is having on our country,” she says.
“As Jacinda Ardern said last year, climate change is this generation's nuclear-free moment. It is our chance for New Zealand to play a leading role to help make a better world.”
She says for that reason, the government has set a target of zero carbon pollution by 2050 – and that the country needs to begin transitioning away from fossil fuels now to make a difference in time.
“Huge advances are being made in electric cars, solar panels, and home energy storage. It's easier than ever to get the energy we need from renewable sources. As our need for oil and gas decreases, and the transition to clean and renewable energy sources takes place, we should slowly stop drilling.
However, she says stopping all oil and gas exploration immediately would be unfair to the workers in the industry and their families.
“Jacinda Ardern's government has chosen a sensible path that gets the balance right. We're protecting current workers from a sudden change, we're protecting the energy supplies New Zealanders need, and we're addressing climate change to protect future generations from a rising tide.”
National Party Bay of Plenty MP and climate change spokesperson Todd Muller says the decision makes no sense – environmentally or economically – because less gas production means more coal being burnt and higher carbon emissions.
“Many overseas countries depend on coal for energy production. Those CO2 emissions would halve if they could switch to natural gas while they transition to renewable energy.
“By stopping New Zealand's gas exploration we are turning our backs on an opportunity to help reduce global emissions while providing a major economic return to improve our standard of living and the environment.
“We need to reduce global CO2 emissions. But there is no need to put an entire industry and thousands of New Zealanders' jobs at risk.”