Press release: New Oil and Gas Permits at odds with Climate Obligations

NZPAM permit for 2014 block offers NTaranaki permits combined 9Dec2014

“It is foolish and reckless for the NZ government to continue pushing for fossil fuel exploration. The government is ignoring its global obligation to tackling climate change. It’s turning a blind eye to legitimate concerns from kiwis who care about their oceans and marine life. It’s denying citizens’ of their basic rights to clean air, water and uncontaminated land while the industry ramps up drilling, flaring and toxic waste dumping,” said Catherine Cheung, Climate Justice Taranaki.

The government has just announced 15 new oil and gas permits, amounting to nearly 50,000 – an 85% increase in acreage from last year’s new permits. Taranaki gets 3 of the six onshore permits and 4 of the nine offshore, although by far the largest permits are in the Pegasus Basin off the south-eastern coast of the north island.

The new permit areas now engulf Inglewood (Taranaki), Dannevirke (Manawatu-Whanganui) and other towns. They encroach into conservation lands (Victoria Park) and our West Coast Marine Mammal Sanctuary designated for the Maui’s Dolphin.

Right now in Peru, world leaders are trying to thrash out new climate deals to bring down greenhouse gas emissions and raise finance to support transition off fossil fuels and adaption to effects from climate change already locked-in, notably sea level rise. Many countries, including USA and China, have agreed to binding emission reduction targets. But not New Zealand – the self-proclaimed clean, green nation!

The announcement of the new permits also came at odds with the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s latest report where she warned, “A rising sea will be with us for a long time to come – one way or another we will have to adapt.”

Public infrastructure like roads, waste water systems, buildings as well as private homes will all be affected by sea level rise and increased occurrence of natural disasters linked to climate change. People’s lives’ and livelihoods are at risks. Local governments and the Insurance Council are seeking direction from the government on how they can prepare and pay for all that.

“Entire nations like Kiribati are planning to evacuate to avoid drowning. Yet the NZ government is playing deaf. We say wake up, Ministers Bridges and Groser, the fossil fuel era is coming to an end as climate change threatens our lives and economy. The time to get onto more sustainable energy systems and a low carbon economy was yesterday. So get on with it, now!” concluded Cheung.

Maps adapted from

Related media:

“New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are small – just 0.15% – in global terms. The country’s emissions per capita, however, were ranked 22nd highest in the world in 2011 and sixth in the OECD…” Read more: Climate targets constantly moving (Taranaki Daily News, 10 Dec)

Lima climate talks failing developing countries even more in favour of the rich We need a fair deal on climate change (India Times, 10 Dec)

Chevron gets NZ oil and gas exploration permit (3 News, 9 Dec)

Chevron, Indian state enter NZ oil search (NZ Herald, 9 Dec)

$8m fund largely for survey (NZ Herald, 8 Dec)

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