Clean energy a regional development opportunity

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones welcomes the opportunity to work with New Zealand’s energy sector as the country begins a just transition to a low carbon economy.

The Government has today announced no new permits for offshore oil exploration, limiting block offer 2018 to new onshore acreage in Taranaki. However, existing permits will not be affected, which was the priority of New Zealand First in negotiations.

As is the normal practice, existing permit holders will continue to be able to apply for permit extensions and change of conditions in line with New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals protocols.

“Last week I launched the Taranaki Regional Economic Development action plan, which identifies ‘four futures’ for the region, including energy,” Shane Jones said.

“The initial money the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) committed to investigate establishing Taranaki as an internationally recognised leader in clean energy technology is an example of the collaboration needed between Government and the energy sector going forward. 

“I was heartened by the conversations I had with various stakeholders, who show a genuine willingness to lead the way and seize the opportunities that the transition provides us with.

“The block offer does not affect any jobs that are already there. New Zealand First’s support is predicated by its commitment to protect the rights of existing permit holders to ensure certainty for all of those in the industry that currently hold exploration, prospecting and mining permits – these permits continue as far out as 2046.

“With ten years’ worth of natural gas consented, plus potentially billions of dollars of natural gas reserves permitted but yet to be consented, we can ensure economic returns and security of supply.

“With a long-term plan, we can protect jobs and provide the time needed for economies that have traditionally relied on fossil fuels, such as Taranaki, to diversify and future proof.

“The just transition will not happen overnight so there’s no need for scaremongering and, while it will undoubtedly pose challenges, it also provides opportunity through investment in new technology and new industries.

“I’ll be working to ensure our regions are supported to tap into these opportunities and will be encouraging clean energy proposals that meet the criteria of the PGF,” Shane Jones said.