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New permit issued for oil and gas exploration must be last

New permit issued for oil and gas exploration must be NZ’s last, says Greenpeace

Wednesday, December 20: Greenpeace says today's permit issued by New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals is very disappointing and must be the last if the Government are true to their word on climate change.

The announcement that a new 12-year oil and gas exploration permit will be issued for the Southern Taranaki Coast comes on the same day as France declared it would refuse to issue any new oil and gas permits, effective immediately. Earlier this week, Belize’s Senate also voted to ban all offshore oil exploration in its territorial waters.

Greenpeace is calling on the new Government to follow France’s lead and listen to iwi, councils, and hundreds of thousands of people who are demanding an end to the search for new oil and gas in New Zealand.

"If Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern believes that climate change is New Zealand’s nuclear-free moment, then her Government must cancel the Block Offer process and any future oil and gas exploration permits altogether," says Greenpeace Campaigner, Amanda Larsson.

"It’s very disappointing that the new Government’s bold statements about transforming New Zealand into a leader on climate have been contradicted by the awarding of a new permit to search for the fossil fuels that are driving climate change."

The permit issued today is a 12-year exploration permit for an area covering 547km2 off the southern Taranaki coast. It is in the habitat of the critically endangered Maui dolphin. The permit requires the holder to undertake exploratory drilling.

"It’s conceivable that this oil company will be drilling in 2025 with this permit - long after the world needs to have have stopped searching for new oil and gas," says Larsson.

"Science says we can’t burn most of the fossil fuel reserves that have already been discovered if we want a chance at avoiding catastrophic climate change. It makes no sense to search for more.

"This Government may have inherited a policy framework that favours the oil industry over people and planet, but it now has the power to change that. Jacinda Ardern’s Government must take bold action to end oil exploration by making sure this is the last time an oil or gas exploration permit is issued in New Zealand, ever."

Greenpeace today joined together with Forest & Bird, WWF-New Zealand and 350 Aotearoa to pen an open letter to the new Government calling for an end to all new fossil fuel exploration. The letter called on Jacinda Ardern’s Government to turn "passion into action, by taking bold and decisive measures to protect our future and our children’s future".

In the letter, the organisations said, "We are calling on our leaders in Government to put an immediate end to new exploration for oil, gas and coal in New Zealand. Doing this would powerfully complement the Government’s commitment to passing the Zero Carbon Act, and show its commitment to achieving its 2050 goal of net-zero emissions. An overwhelming number of New Zealanders already support this vision."

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