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Oil decision gives NZ ‘clean, green’ mojo back

Oil decision gives NZ ‘clean, green’ mojo back - great for exporters


Friday, April 13: The announcement by the Coalition Government that it’s ended all new offshore oil and gas exploration has thrust New Zealand onto the world stage and created a flurry of positive international attention that will benefit our biggest export industries, according to Greenpeace.

Greenpeace Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman, says food and tourism are reliant on New Zealand’s ‘clean, green’ brand, and yesterday’s announcement is certain to have a knock on effect.

"The Government’s announcement on oil has given New Zealand its ‘clean, green’ mojo back," he says.

"This will have significant benefits for our biggest export industries - food and tourism - because it will give our Pure New Zealand brand a much needed boost. Oil, on the other hand, is a relatively small and declining export industry."

Publications in the world, including The Guardian, The New York Times, the Financial Times, and the Washington Post, were quick to report the news that New Zealand had ended new offshore oil and gas exploration to meet global climate obligations.

Norman, says the international response to yesterday’s announcement is a reflection on the downward trajectory of oil and gas and the growing global movement against it.

"We may have become one of the first countries in the world to take concrete action against oil exploration, but we certainly won’t be the last," he says.

"The tide is irreversibly turning against big oil globally, and the action we’re taking on climate change here firmly places New Zealand back where it belongs - as the little country that leads the world on the issues of our era that matter most - as we did when we banned nuclear ships, and gave women the vote.

"Spurred on by a tenacious campaign that grew into a national movement, New Zealand has stood up to one of the most powerful industries in the world. That will not go unnoticed.

"Globally, fossil fuels are becoming a risky investment. We’re seeing banks and other financial institutions actively reducing their exposure to them and increasing investment in clean energy, for purely financial reasons.

"For New Zealand, the decision to rule out new offshore oil and gas exploration opens the door to clean energy. We must now focus on providing a just transition for communities and workers in fossil-fuel dependent areas such as Taranaki, to ensure they are fully supported with finding alternative opportunities in sustainable industries."

The decision to put an end to new offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand effectively means the fourth-largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on the planet - more than 4 million square kilometres - is off limits for any new fossil fuel exploitation.

It will come as a significant blow to global oil companies that have pinned their hopes on finding oil here in future.

Over the past decade, some of the world's largest oil companies have sought to search for and exploit fossil fuel reserves off New Zealand’s isolated shores.

Shell, Anadarko, Petrobras, Statoil, Chevron and OMV are among a list of foreign companies to undertake seismic surveying and exploratory drilling in New Zealand’s deep seas.

The companies have been met strong resistance from public, iwi, and environmental NGOs.
ENDS

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