The New Zealand Herald

Govt ban tipped on oil, gas exploratio­n

- Audrey Young

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to make a major announceme­nt this morning banning any future offshore oil and gas exploratio­n in New Zealand.

The only exploratio­n likely to be contemplat­ed by the new Government is onshore exploratio­n — and even then it is expected to be limited to energy-rich Taranaki.

Ardern last night scheduled an announceme­nt for this morning at the Beehive Theatrette for 9am.

She will make the announceme­nt with Greens co-leader and Climate Change Minister James Shaw and New Zealand First MP and Regional Economic Developmen­t Minister Shane Jones.

There are more than 30 existing permits for offshore oil and gas exploratio­n and they will remain unaffected by today’s announceme­nt.

If those permits are continued or taken up, that will mean existing exploratio­n for more than a decade.

Ardern and the ministers are expected to outline plans for their version of a managed transition towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 and a goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricit­y by 2035.

The Government had already postponed any decision about lock offers this year — a competitiv­e way by which oil and gas exploratio­n permits have been issued for the past few years.

And Ardern personally accepted a Greenpeace petition at Parliament this month to ban all oil and gas exploratio­n.

But some had been holding out hope that the Government would still accept bids for exploratio­n on a caseby-case basis.

Today’s decision will put paid to those hopes.

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