Uncertain future for fossil fuel industry
The future of the oil and gas exploration industry in New Zealand will be a hot topic this week with a big oil industry gathering in Wellington and climate change events elsewhere.
Protesters are expected at the 2018 New Zealand Petroleum Conference, opening Monday, bringing together 500 delegates from across the oil and gas industry.
Greenpeace NZ executive director Russel Norman said hopes had been raised when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week accepted a petition to end future oil and gas exploration.
"'Yeah, it has. I mean, I think the fact that she came down and accepted the petition does indicate a direction of travel, in terms of her thinking, which obviously is entirely in alignment with what she said during the campaign about climate change being this generation's nuclear-free moment," Dr Norman told TVNZ on Sunday.
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Ms Ardern later clarified what she was talking about, saying the government was mulling the annual list of exploration permit requests and the future annual tender process.
Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand CEO Cameron Madgwick said his organisation recognised the challenges of climate change but he also talked up the role the industry plays.
"The energy provided by oil and gas is a fundamental part of our daily life. It provides half of New Zealand's energy."
He said the industry wanted to be involved in tackling climate change.
"The role of natural gas as a transition fuel will be crucial by displacing higher-emission fuels, delivering a win-win for New Zealand's economy and environment."
Greens co-leader James Shaw, the Climate Change Minister, has a speech of his own on Monday to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Christchurch, ensuring all sides of the debate are heard.