An historic day for action on climate change

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

 This is an historic day.

 Today ends all new oil and gas exploration in the waters around Aotearoa New Zealand.

 What a win.

 It’s a win for the Green Party and a win for all of us who care about the environment and the impacts of climate change.

 Today will go down in history as the moment New Zealand said fossil fuels are not our future.

 Today we have drawn that line in the sand.

 As I have said many times, the world cannot burn most of the fossil fuel reserves that have already been discovered without causing catastrophic global warming.

Anyone who wants to take real action on climate change, but still wants to keep looking for new coal or oil, simply isn’t serious.

Today’s decision shows this Government is serious.

As the Green Party has been saying since we formed 20 years ago, ENVIRONMENTAL SUCCESS is ECONOMIC SUCCESS.

Business now understands that.

More and more farmers now understand that.

Our well-being and the well-being of our planet demand that we move to cleaner, low-emission ways of doing business and living our lives.

That doesn’t mean shuffling off into a cave with a candle.

It means embracing smart science, smart technology, and smart use of people and resources that can deliver cleaner, low-emission returns.

More oil exploration can’t do that.

But the expertise that’s been built up in that industry can be turned to more environmentally sustainable and economically sustainable enterprise.

The Prime Minister talked about applying skills from the oil industry to mining silica to use in solar panels.

Here’s something else.

This country needs some pretty big infrastructure upgrades – to ensure safe drinking water systems and storm water systems and sewerage systems.

That’s work that needs expertise in drilling, pipe construction and reticulation, and that’s expertise that exists in the oil industry.

Countries who’ve signed up to the Paris Agreement have committed to mobilize at least $1 TRILLION in Green Investment by 2030.

Business consultancy, PwC, says New Zealand’s share of the global clean energy market could be worth up to $22 BILLION a year, if we implement clean energy policies to encourage it – like we did today.

This University and others in New Zealand get it.

Just go to Victoria University’s Faculty of Engineering home page.

What are two of the newest courses offered for study?


Our job, as a Government, is to provide the leadership and the plan to help ensure New Zealand is part of the world’s green, sustainable economy.

Decisions, like the one announced by the Prime Minister today demonstrate that leadership.

Establishing a Zero Carbon Act, and an independent Climate Change Commission demonstrates that leadership.

Our commitment to 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035 demonstrates that leadership.

And our goal for New Zealand to be a net zero emissions economy by 2050 demonstrates that leadership.


There will be those who’ll criticize today’s decision.

My question to them is – what’s your solution?

Because sticking to business-as-usual in oil exploration will leave people like you - studying here - with bigger, more difficult, more costly problems to solve later.

Leaving decisions - like the one announced today - for future generations to make only delays and limits the options and opportunities that can come from a managed transition to a new low-emissions economy.

Clinging to old forms of energy that have helped put us on a collision course with climate change is not sensible, nor is it responsible leadership.