New Zealand wants to end its ban on oil and gas exploration

New Zealand wants to end its ban on oil and gas exploration

New Zealand's government said on Sunday it intends to rescind its 2018 ban on oil and gas exploration, sparking outrage from the opposition and environmental groups.

“Natural gas is essential for lighting and running our economy, especially during peak consumption.”New Zealand's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Shane Jones, justified this in a press statement. The Minister also plans to ease tender procedures for oil exploration applications.

He explained that the oil and mining sector contributed more than 1.1 billion euros to the gross domestic product in 2020-2021. “When the previous government (Labour) banned exploration in 2018 (…) this also led to a decrease in investment in the continued development of our known gas fields.”The minister, a member of the center-right government that has been in power since November, added.

Chloe Swarbrick, a Green Party MP, responded to the announcement by saying that the government “Feeding the fire of climate change with gas and oil”. “We can achieve a more sustainable and efficient economy by prioritizing clean energy.”She said.

This announcement comes a day after protests were held in several major cities in New Zealand, opposing another government initiative that wants to stimulate the economy. This other bill would speed up the permitting process for major infrastructure projects and bypass many environmental regulations.

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