New Zealand Plans to Revoke Previous Government’s Oil Drilling Ban

By Jose Resurreccion

Jun 09, 2024 11:19 PM EDT

NZ Plans to Revoke Previous Government’s Oil Drilling Ban
The New Zealand flag flies from the roof of the pavilion during day three of the first Test Match between England and New Zealand at Lord's Cricket Ground on June 04, 2022 in London, England.
(Photo : Stu Forster/Getty Images)

New Zealand announced over the weekend that it would revoke a ban on drilling for oil and gas, passed by the previous governments of Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins before they were voted out of power.

The coalition government of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has begun its oil policy reversal by inviting energy companies to resume their exploration in the three major offshore fields that would supply most of the country's gas supply. 

Reuters reported that the bill would be introduced to parliament before the end of 2024. 

New Zealand's resources minister, Shane Jones, decided to reverse the ban after the national grid operator Transpower warned families last month to limit their electricity usage to avoid shutdown as the southern hemisphere moves into the colder days of winter. 

Jones added that the proposed amendments to its Crown Minerals Act would address energy security challenges caused by the rapid decline in natural gas reserves.

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Criticism from Green Activists, Politicians

The policy also meant it would be a setback for green activists and the Labor Party in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Newshub quoted NZ Labour's shadow energy minister Megan Woods as saying that the Luxon government was taking the country backward and being "cruel" to the future generation of New Zealanders.

The Telegraph further revealed that key UK Labour Party leader Ed Milliband repeatedly pledged to halt new drilling for oil and gas in British waters, particularly in the North Sea, if they win the general election later this year. 

Oil, Gas Ban Reversal a Welcome Relief to the Energy Industry

While green activists are concerned about the ban's reversal, Energy Resources Aotearoa CEO John Carnegie welcomed the decision, saying that it was "a return to sensible, pragmatic policy settings" that would manage New Zealand's oil and gas sector to benefit the country. 

Carnegie added that the country should also urgently need to attract further investment in exploration and production to maintain energy security. 

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