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National Government wins another fossil

The National Government's love affair with fossil fuels has just become more embarrassing, as New Zealand was voted one of the top ten most attractive nations for the fossil fuel industry to do business in, the Green Party says.

The Government was yesterday given a top 10 ranking by the Fraser Institute for making New Zealand more attractive to the fossil fuel sector.  Oil executives surveyed by the institute praised governments who supported their industry through government spending, tax settings, and oil-friendly environmental regulation.

“New Zealand should be winning accolades for taking a strong stance on the environment, not for throwing open its arms to the fossil fuel industry,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“The top ten oil-friendly countries ranking comes just a few days after the Government was awarded a "fossil of the day" award by environmental groups at the climate talks in Paris, for its hypocrisy as it called on other countries to ditch subsidies for the industry.

"The Government has spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars trying to attract a dying industry to New Zealand, which is sending the wrong message to the world about the kind of country we are.

“Since National came to power, public spending to assist oil exploration has jumped from $2.6 million to $17.6 million.

“Tax breaks for the industry were $93.6 million between 2008 and 2013, according to figures released by the former Revenue Minister Peter Dunne. 

“The Government spent almost a quarter of a million dollars wining and dining oil executives and another $850,000 hosting a conference for oil executives in 2013.

“The National Government needs to be following the lead of the 500 institutions, worth $3.4 trillion USD (approximately $5.09 trillion NZD), who have pledged today to get out of the fossil fuel business as part of the Divest for Paris campaign,” the Green Party said.

“We need investment in clean energy jobs which have a long term future, not dirty energy which is on the way out,” said Mr Hughes.