Offshore Oil and Gas exploration Cancellation Welcomed

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The New Zealand government has decided not to issue any further offshore oil and gas exploration permits in a move to address climate change.

"There will be no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted", said Jacinda Ardern.

"New Zealand has taken an historic step and delivered a massive breakthrough for the climate, spurred on by the tens of thousands of people who have fought for years to protect our coasts from new oil and gas exploration", said Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman. "The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand, lobby group, PEPANZ, and its member oil and gas companies, has feigned surprise but they can not have been surprised, given the various parties' pre-election commitments".

Ardern surprised the oil and gas industry with her announcement, which won't impact the 22 existing exploration permits, Reuters said. "These and other companies have for years pressured governments to suit themselves, and have actively sought to maintain the environmentally irresponsible fossil fuel production and very poor public policy on climate".

Ardern claimed that her government is striking the right balance by protecting the existing industry and at the same time shielding future generation from climate change.

We are disappointed that onshore Taranaki, where communities have to deal with ongoing fracking and exploration, is exempt from the ban, and that existing offshore exploration contracts will remain.

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"This announcement sends a message to some of Taranaki's major investors and employers that they do not have a long term future in New Zealand".

New Zealand exports about $1.1 billion worth of oil per year, less than it imports, according to The New York Times.

The country's oil industry quickly voiced its anger over the move.

National's energy and resources spokesman Jonathan Young described the decision as "economic vandalism" which would ensure the demise of 8000 high-paying jobs and remove $2.5billion from the economy.

"This decision is devoid of any rationale".

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"As a member of the Environment Select Committee, I regularly hear submissions and read reports about the effects climate change is having on our country", she says.

However, New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdem said the move was a "kick in the guts for the future of the Taranaki economy". "These changes will simply shift production elsewhere in the world, not reduce emissions", he said.

"This decision does not affect current reserves or the potential finds from current exploration permits".

In each of the last two years only one permit has been granted for offshore oil and gas exploration.

Mr Jeffries says the company is focusing on assets where its New Zealand capability can add value, with a preference for gas assets because gas is seen in most jurisdictions as a vital energy source for the transition to a lower carbon world.

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