Offshore oil drilling banned in New Zealand

Offshore oil drilling has been completely banned by New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

The ruling is the latest move to create a ‘carbon neutral future’ for the country, reducing its dependency on fossil fuels and their derivatives. As a result of the laws, new permits will not be issued to any companies looking to drill for oil off the coast of New Zealand, however, it will not effect any existing contacts which are in place.

Arden announced the new measures in a Facebook Live post a few hours ago, stating that the government “has a plan to transition towards a carbon-neutral future, one that looks 30 years in advance”.

Transitions have to start somewhere and unless we make decisions today that will essentially take effect in 30 or more years’ time, we run the risk of acting too late and causing abrupt shocks to communities and our country.” – Jacinda Ardern

Greenpeace has joined many environmental campaigners in celebrating the move, calling it  a “historic moment” for New Zealand and “a huge win for our climate and people power”. The environmental organization were responsible for submitting a 50,000 signature strong petition calling for a ban on offshore oil drilling, which the prime minister accepted. Russel Norman, head of Greenpeace New Zealand, went on to share his elation;

The tide has turned irreversibly against big oil in New Zealand,” said Norman, “Today’s announcement is significant internationally too. By ending new oil and gas exploration in our waters, the fourth-largest exclusive economic zone on the planet is out of bounds for new fossil fuel exploitation. New Zealand has stood up to one of the most powerful industries in the world. Bold global leadership on the greatest challenge of our time has never been more urgent and Ardern has stepped up to that climate challenge.”

As reported in The Guardian, “the Forest & Bird conservation group said the ban was a “huge step forward” for the country and sent a message to the oil and gas industry that New Zealand waters were no longer “their playground”.

“Half the world’s whale and dolphin species visit or live in New Zealand waters, from the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin to giant blue whales,” said the group’s chief executive, Kevin Hague.

“Today, these sensitive creatures are made safer from the threat of oil spills and the sonic barrage of seismic testing. Keeping New Zealand’s oil and gas in the ground reduces everyone’s risk, and tells the world we’re serious about reducing our contribution to climate change.”

Colin J McCracken
Colin J McCracken

Director and Executive Editor

Colin J McCracken is an Irish editor and writer of both fiction and journalism. Coming from a background in education and film, his passions are split between the environmental and the entertaining. Constantly striving for a more sustainable existence and trying to balance it while simultaneously buying too many books.