New Zealand’s economy needs to decarbonise over the next 20 to 30 years, however if the Government continues to discourage the exploration sector, New Zealand will have a future domestic natural gas shortage.
New Zealand still requires a significant amount of natural gas. Natural gas supplies 400,000 homes and businesses. It is a clean burning fuel with many countries around the world using gas as a transitional fuel to replace higher emitting energy sources such as coal. New Zealand is lucky to have a high percentage of zero-emission energy sources such as hydro and wind. Renewable energy is great however the reliability of many renewable sources requires Gas power plants to meet these gaps in future demand.
As we move to a more sustainable economy, gas will still have an important place in our economy as mentioned. Additionally, the ban of exploration will have a dramatic effect on the Taranaki region where hundreds of high wage jobs will be lost in an ideological pursuit by the current Government. These people will lose their jobs and New Zealand will have to rely on imported natural gas despite having a plentiful source of low carbon natural gas available in New Zealand. Now more than ever we need to ensure that we grow high wage jobs and opportunities.
Gas has a future in New Zealand and as we begin to deal with the economic fall-out from the COVID lockdown, we need to ensure New Zealand has the opportunities to promote growth and opportunities in our regions. Gas will be vital in ensuring we meet the challenges of climate change and assist in our transition to a more sustainable economy.
Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has a target of transitioning New Zealand to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In 2018 our Government took an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand, by deciding there would be no new offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted.There are 22 offshore oil and gas exploration permits currently active, covering an area of 100,000 sq kms, running out by 2030. All these current permits have been honoured. This Government has a commitment to ensuring there is a just transition to a clean energy future.
For the Taranaki region, where the bulk of the oil and gas industry is based, we are supporting their transition by investing in seven key infrastructure projects to create jobs:
- Yarrow Stadium repair and redevelopment
- Indoor aquatic facility replaced in Stratford
- New build of a multi-use Mawhitiwhiti Kanihi Pa
- Nukumaru Station Road construction
- New library, arts and culture centre Te Ramanui o Ruaputahanga in Hawera
- Dawson falls lodge development
- New children’s cycling education park and half basketball court
Across the country our Government is backing shovel-ready infrastructure projects as part of our 5-point economic plan to keep New Zealand moving: by investing in people, creating jobs, preparing for the future, supporting small businesses and positioning New Zealand globally. Last month Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Energy Minister Megan Woods launched Ara Ake – the National New Energy Development Centre, funded by the Government and established by Venture Taranaki. Are Ake will lead the development of new clean energy technologies and work with businesses to commercialise their innovations creating high-paying local jobs. We are determined to continue being a world leader in the renewable energy sector.