National’s spokesman for Energy and Resources, Jonathan Young has claimed his counterpart, the Minister, Dr Megan Woods was showing a “shameful abuse of process by rushing through a Bill to ban new offshore oil and gas exploration.
It was being shown, he said, that the ban was both bad for the economy and was doing nothing for climate change.
“Having announced the ban in February, Woods ran out of time to meet her legislative obligations as Energy Minister. The oil and gas industry may not see Block Offer 2018 this year and is likely to reject an offer that comes from an undemocratic process.
“The uncertainty is already scaring off massive investment. A sector that contributes $2.5 billion a year to New Zealand’s GDP is outraged over the way it has been treated.”
Young said the industry body PEPANZ calls the rushed legislation “an undemocratic disgrace” that came with “a shocking lack of consultation.”
Young said Dr Woods may dismiss those views as self-interest from energy companies but she’d be wrong. PEPANZ speaks for stakeholders in the energy sector and the wider NZ economy including our biggest law and accounting firms, and engineers along with oil and gas companies.
“She will be hoping for a quick passage through the Environment select committee for the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill, having cut consultation down to just four weeks.
“That committee hasn’t handled Crown Minerals legislation before. All previous Crown Minerals amendment bills have gone before the Economic Development Select Committee. Indeed Woods reports to the Economic Development committee in her capacity as Minister of Energy and Resources.
“But the greater concern is that the committee is chaired by Labour backbench MP Deborah Russell, a vocal opponent of the oil and gas industry. PEPANZ cited her ‘outrageous comments’ when the Bill was debated under urgency and she is unlikely to give industry a fair hearing.
“The industry has got it dead right in saying the whole process ‘has been a disgrace with no warning, no consultation and the Government trashing their own expert advice on the devastating impacts of this policy.’
Young said the next National government would repeal this politically driven ban and restore certainty to a vital industry that has very long investment cycles and can’t be shut out of the conversation about NZs future energy needs.