WWF-New Zealand welcomes today's announcement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that the government will not issue any further block offers for offshore oil and gas exploration. While Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods releases a block offer for limited onshore oil exploration today, the government is announcing that it will progressively reduce new block offers for onshore oil exploration to zero.
In response, WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy said "This is a huge step forward for New Zealand, and a landmark moment in the transition to a clean energy economy.
"Modelling by University College London suggests that globally we need to leave about 80% of existing coal reserves, almost half of existing gas reserves and about a third of existing oil reserves un-burned to give us a reasonable chance of limiting warming to two degrees.
"This is the coal, oil and gas that has already been found and is already on the books. That is why the decision to stop opening more and more of Aotearoa's ocean territory to oil exploration is a big step towards unlocking a safe climate future.
"We hope that the New Zealand oil and gas industries will take today's announcements as a signal to use their technical skills, expertise, and resources to develop and deploy renewable energy technologies. That's the way of the future.
"What's more, today's announcement will be welcome news for New Zealand's critically endangered Māui dolphins. They live only off the west coast of the North Island, and over 30% of their habitat is already open for oil exploration. Seismic blasting for oil can both have physical impacts on dolphins and cause long-term behavioural changes.
"Today’s announcement is good news for our ocean life, for our children, and for their children."
Alice Cameron, WWF-New Zealand Marketing, Communications & Brand Manager, ph: +64 (0) 27 212 3103
Notes to editor:
WWF-New Zealand CEO LiviacEsterhazy is available for interview, please contact Alice Cameron to arrange