Labour’s policy is leading to energy emergency

POWER prices rising to two to three times the long-run average, is the latest sign New Zealand is rapidly facing an energy emergency says National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Barbara Kuriger.

“The consequences of Labour’s oil and gas exploration permit ban are coming to fruition across New Zealand today in the form of wholesale electricity prices four-times what they were this time last year and an insecure supply of gas.

“Major Energy Users Group chair John Harbord has stated that if prices continue on the pathway we are on ‘We’re looking at the loss of thousands of jobs and the hollowing out of New Zealand’s manufacturing capability’. This can be seen in the closing of the Whakatane paper mill and Methanex’s Waitara Valley Plant.

“The reality is the path we are on was chosen three years ago this week when Jacinda Ardern announced she would ban offshore oil and gas exploration.

“That announcement had a chilling effect on investment in New Zealand’s energy sector. More than 80,000 of gas exploration permits have been relinquished, while we have seen gas production at our largest well fall around 40%.

“We are now in the sad situation of, despite having numerous offshore basins likely with commercially viable gas, potentially needing to import LNG from Australia soon.

“Labour has talked at length about taking the importance of an evidenced-based and bipartisan approach to climate change policy, yet their actions are anything but.

“The oil and gas ban was political stunt that went against official advice. The Government needs to urgently find a way to mend the damage done to New Zealand’s energy sector by the oil and gas ban.”