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Energy exploration under threat at worst time

Energy exploration under threat at worst time

The Government must stand firm in the face of a Waitangi Tribunal report due for release tomorrow, which is expected to back a Maori claim over oil and gas reserves, says National Party Leader Bill English.

"At a time when New Zealand desperately needs more oil and gas, the Waitangi Tribunal is suggesting the New Zealand Government put up more hurdles to exploration," says Mr English.

He's commenting on a claim focusing on Taranaki's Kupe Field - but it's feared the findings could have wider ramifications.

"The Labour Government must act quickly to ensure it sends a message to Maori that this claim will not be successful," says Mr English.

"Exploration companies take huge financial risks to find fossil fuels, now the Tribunal's talking about changing the rules.

"It's been hard enough encouraging exploration in New Zealand, such a shift in policy could be disastrous for the industry here," Mr English says.

"The Government must not put potential exploration at risk by considering the recommendations for too long.

"And the Labour Government must not be allowed to impose its ideological agenda on the rest of us over this issue," says Mr English.

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