The National Government has today awarded nine new oil and gas exploration permits, in the latest demonstration it has absolutely no intention of living up to the Paris agreement to halt climate change, the Green Party says.
“National couldn’t even wait a week after world leaders agreed on a plan to stop climate change before giving out new permits for foreign companies to drill for fossil fuels in New Zealand waters,” Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.
“Today’s oil and gas permit block offer is the smallest ever in terms of area allocated, which shows that global action to halt climate change and low oil prices are undermining National’s fossil fuel agenda – not that Simon Bridges seems to have noticed.
“Oil is last century’s fuel and we simply cannot afford to drill for more of it if we’re going to achieve the goal agreed to in Paris, which is to drastically cut climate pollution caused by burning fossil fuels.
“New oil drilling permit areas less than 20 km off our coast could endanger some of the most treasured summer holiday spots in Golden Bay and the Marlborough Sounds.
“In the few days since Associate Climate Change Minister Simon Bridges has returned from the Paris climate conference, he’s given out oil exploration permits and opened a big new highway designed for trucks.
“We haven’t seen any commitment by this Government to actually making any changes that would lower New Zealand’s carbon pollution, in fact we’ve seen the opposite.
“With oil royalties down significantly and major oil companies leaving the country, delaying exploration, and not bidding for new permits, it's time for National to quit subsidising the oil industry to find oil we can't afford to burn.
“If National put half as much effort into clean technology and renewable energy as they do promoting fossil fuels and subsidising pollution, New Zealand could be reducing our climate pollution but instead we’re polluting more than we ever have been before,” said Mr Hughes.