New Zealand will forgo any new offshore oil and gas exploration to combat global warming, the government said, which the opposition immediately accused of "economic vandalism."
"We take an important step to tackle climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand, "said Premier Jacinda Ardern (center left).
New Zealand's Oil and Gas Industry annually generates $ 2.5 billion New Zealand (€ 1.4 billion), of which $ 1.5 billion for exports alone. It employs 11,000 people.
Ms. Ardern made it clear that this decision did not concern exploration and drilling permits already granted, so that no current job would be affected.
She also announced a limitation on new inshore permits that would be granted in the Taranaki region of the North Island, where the New Zealand oil and gas sector is concentrated
"We are striving for the right balance for New Zealand. protect an existing sector and protect global warming for future generations, "she said.
Last year's environmental issues were at the heart of Mrs. Ardern's campaign, which formed a coalition with Greens.
She said she witnessed the impacts of global warming by visiting Samoa and Tonga last month, which were recently hit by a violent cyclone.
believed that New Zealand needed to be at the forefront of the fight against global warming.
"We have been world leaders on important topics, standing apart from nuclear, being the first to supporting the right to vote for women, "she said,"
"Now we could be a world leader in offsetting carbon emissions. We owe it to future generations. "
The government said there were currently 31 permits for oil and gas exploration, including 22 offshore
Environmental groups welcomed the New Zealand decision, Greenpeace claiming in particular: "The trend has irretrievably returned to the Supermajors in New Zealand."
"This is a big step forward for New Zealand and a turning point in the transition to a clean energy economy. said New Zealand's WWF director Livia Esterhazy,
But the conservative National Party opposition accused Mrs. Ardern of "economic vandalism" that could put thousands of jobs at risk.
Jonathan Young, MP, said the gas contributes to the country's energy independence and noted that the government's decision meant that New Zealand should within 10 years importing much more polluting resources like coal when gas reserves are exhausted.