Ardern belatedly fronting up on oil and gas in Taranaki

On April 12 the Government announced that there would be no more oil and gas explorations issued – No more offshore oil permits, existing permits remain.

The Government was immediately criticised for a lack of consultation prior to the announcement, and the lack of details about how ‘transition’ from oil and gas might work.

Andrew Little was quickly sent to a meeting in New Plymouth to try to do some damage control in a region that relies heavily on the oil and gas industry.

The lack of consultation was raised again in Parliament yesterday. When questioned Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods said there had been “there were very strong signals” – but that isn’t consultation.

Jonathan Young: When she described ending new offshore permits as a “planned, measured and careful transition … towards renewable energy”, did she actually tell anyone in the petroleum industry her plan to ban new offshore permits, prior to 12 April?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: This is a question that has been asked in this House and responded to in this House previously. What we have been very clear on is that both the Prime Minister and myself made very clear comments around the future of offshore drilling prior to 12 April. Indeed, two weeks before making that announcement, I went to the Petroleum Conference and gave a speech reassuring the sector that the changes coming would not affect their existing permits.

Jonathan Young: Did she actually tell anyone in the petroleum industry prior to 12 April that she was planning to ban new offshore permits?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: As I just answered in the previous question, there were very strong signals. But we made an announcement; that was the point at which we told people in the petroleum sector. As that member knows, members of the sector received phone calls from myself, several colleagues, and officials the night before the announcement was made.

Phone calls the night before a planned announcement is not great consultation either.

Today prime Minister Ardern will meet with the oil and gas industry for the first time since the announcement.

Newstalk ZB: PM to meet with oil industry for first time since ban

The Prime Minister is heading to New Plymouth today to meet with representatives from the oil and gas industry.

It’s the first time she’s been to the region since the Government banned on any future offshore exploration permits.

Jacinda Ardern says the focus of her meetings today will be on what needs to be done to help the industry transition.

“There are decades left of work and exploration in this industry. What we need to think about is what happens in the 30 years after that, and that’s why we’re going to Taranaki to talk about that.”

The industry has been very critical, saying they weren’t properly consulted by the Government, but Ardern maintains that’s not the case.

“There have been changes in this industry for some time and anyone who listened to what we’d been saying about there not being a future for fossil fuels would not have been surprised by this move at all.”

Ardern and the Government have said quite a few things that they haven’t followed through on, or have deferred. They have cited the demands of being in a coalition as a reason for dropping or watering down some policies.

It looks like Ardern rushed into the oil and gas announcement to use as show piece action ahead of a trip to Europe, but she should have done far better in New Zealand, especially in Taranaki.

There will be pressure on Ardern today to assure the oil and gas industry that consultation on transition plans – if they have any plans of substance – will be given a far greater priority than sending signals via the media.

Leave a comment


  1. artcroft

     /  25th May 2018

    Oil and gas exploration in Taranaki will continue unabated. New permits will be issued. The diplomacy of Donald Trump will ensure NZ needs a secure supply of fossil fuels and Taranaki is a big part of that.

    • Gerrit

       /  25th May 2018

      Whilst the exploration consents can continue, the granting of the all important resource consent to mine or extract permits will not.

      Big difference between exploration and exploitation of resources in regards permits.

      No one is going to fund the cost of exploration without at least getting some promise on a return off the exploration expenditure.

  2. Grimm

     /  25th May 2018

    At some point, all student politicians have to grow up. That means dealing with the world as it actually is, rather than how they would like it to be. The workers paradise that runs on solar power and composting toilets is a long way from the Koru lounge.

    There are signs that both Ardern and Robertson are learning that their idealistic nonsense doesn’t work for actual workers.

  3. Patzcuaro

     /  25th May 2018
  4. Warren

     /  25th May 2018

    Well we have it from the Government. To consult you just have to send signals. This will be music in the ears of Maori now we know that any planning proposal only needs to be signaled and there does not need to be any face to face discussion or the sending of proposals/documents before consent is granted. Can apply in many areas where legislation requires consultation.

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  25th May 2018

    Ardern to explain to Taranaki how to transition to poverty. Will hold up Gisbourne as the example to follow.

    • Gezza

       /  25th May 2018

      Are you talking about the guy who was hired to kill Robin Hood but was instead killed by him? How is that relevant exactly?

  6. Griff

     /  25th May 2018

    No new permits.
    Not alarmist scare story’s of stopping all drilling or they are taking all the jobs from Taraniki.
    Unsupported conjecture and slippery slope fallacy as long as the official policy is not changed. The goverment has stopped issuing new areas to explore not cancelled existing permits or banned drilling.

    The Barque field is inside a large area of active permits Taraniki and the east coast
    basin also have large areas under current permits..
    If they find something in the medium term it would help NZ inc’s transition to a carbon free world . it is about ten years from initial search to exploitation then maybe ten or so years of extraction.
    After that?
    Long term a lot of know Hydrocarbon resources are going to stay in the ground .
    As the impacts of climate change ramp up the appetite for dirty sources of energy will decrease as will the funding needed to exploit them .

    • Grimm

       /  25th May 2018

      You’d think after so many failures, people would stop predicting the death of oil. Might as well add yours to the pile (pyre?). Peak Oil alone has predicted nearly 20 time since the 1960’s. The rate of production is still going up fast.

      Even if we are facing climate effects that need mitigating (Iike the inconvenient cold winter coming), then we aren’t going to be able to do it without oil. Concrete, steel, and huge machines are the only things with any hope of holding back the tide.

  7. Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  25th May 2018

      Nobody seemed very impressed. Most people know bullshit and waffle when they hear it.


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