Greenpeace is condemning Gerry Brownlee’s "unscrupulous" defence of plans to reopen offshore oil and gas exploration while speaking to media at the Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands.
Pacific Governments and civil society organisations have used the Forum as a platform to call for a fossil fuel phase-out, calling on Australia and New Zealand in particular, to commit to ending coal, oil and gas development.
Greenpeace spokesperson Amanda Larsson says, "The National Party’s continued defence of its dangerous plans to drill for yet more oil in the face of outright criticism from Pacific leaders is deeply concerning.
"The new National-led Government’s first appearance on the global stage has been to play the ‘fossil fool’ - promoting new oil and gas exploration in spite of climate disasters - like Cyclone Lola in Vanuatu, and Cyclone Gabrielle here in Aotearoa - devastating communities, taking lives and livelihoods.
"Oil companies are posting record profits, while people in Aotearoa, the Pacific, and all around the world are paying the cost of the climate crisis. Plans for more oil exploration are out of touch, unscrupulous, and threaten the very future of life on earth."
Vanuatu’s Climate Change Minister, Ralph Regenvanu, yesterday urged New Zealand’s new government not to reverse the ban, saying, "To be in line with Paris, the 1.5-degree target, the science says you cannot do new fossil fuels."
Larsson says, "We already have all the technology we need to power New Zealand’s homes, businesses and transport on clean energy. What’s needed is the political will to reduce energy demand through more efficient appliances, vehicles and buildings - as well as a large-scale rollout of wind, solar, electrified transport and more clean energy technologies."
Greenpeace Aotearoa has launched an open letter to the oil and gas industry, promising to resist any attempt to conduct oil exploration in Aotearoa. Almost 10,000 people have signed on since it was launched in October.