Jonathon Young and Todd Muller, the National members of parliament, have said that putting an end to offshore oil exploration is essentially vandalising the New Zealand economy.
However Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that by ending the exploration, the Government is taking an important step towards addressing the issue of climate change. The Prime Minister also stated that this new direction with push New Zealand onto the right path for a green, clean and sustainable future.
She also mentioned that they are protecting the existing mining and exploration rights and no jobs will be affected by this decision.
The Government will still continue onshore block offers over the next 3 years but Megan Woods, the Energy and Resources Minister, stated that there will be no new offers regarding offshore blocks. This translates to corporations will no longer be able to bid for new permits. According to Ms Woods, the block on offers will be limited to the onshore acreage in the Taranki region only.
Currently New Zealand has 31 active oil and gas exploration permits. From that 31, 22 of those are located offshore. These permits cover a total area of 100,000 square kilometres. Under the current mining permit they last until 2030 or even an additional 40 years.
The Prime Minister Ms Arden has said that the Government is taking careful consideration when making these changes over time to support communities with a managed transition.
Ms Arden has been a strong supporter for a greener New Zealand. Last year she stated that she was actively considering putting an end to offshore exploration. She had also mentioned that the government will be moving towards 100 percent of their electricity to be generated from renewable sources by the year 2035.
The push for greener countries comes in light of the permanent damage we are doing to the Earth via global warming. A lot of nations are pushing towards the power being generated via renewable sources. The other month, Portugal was able to exceed the electricity they needed via renewable sources showing to the world that it can be done.
Ms Ardern has said that you have to come to the point where you decide that now is the time to plan for the future of renewable energy and put it into motion. She also mentioned that the world is heading in this direction as they all signed to the Paris agreement and now is the time to take action.