New petroleum permitting ignores climate reality

The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird says the granting of a raft of new oil and gas exploration permits is another sign the government is failing in its duty to act to protect New Zealand against the worst effects of climate change. 

Deep sea exploration permits have today been awarded for several areas, including off the North Island’s west coast, reportedly including parts of the Maui’s dolphin sanctuary; off the south-eastern corner of the North Island – near Cook Strait – and northwest of Farewell Spit.  

Onshore permits have been granted for parts of Taranaki and the Wairarapa. 

“Forest & Bird is naturally very concerned that the petroleum industry has reportedly been allowed to buy the rights to drill in the Maui’s dolphin sanctuary,” says Forest & Bird Group Manager Campaigns and Advocacy Kevin Hackwell.

“But all New Zealanders should be very concerned about new oil drilling and fracking wherever it might occur, given the huge dangers of climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels. 

“Late last month the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment warned that ongoing sea level rise is a serious threat to New Zealand’s infrastructure. 

“But as the sea continues to rise, many of our native species will also suffer the consequences,” Kevin Hackwell says.

A report released in New Zealand today by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe gave New Zealand a ranking of 43 out of 58 countries for its “poor” record on climate change.