Deep sea drilling would continue under a Labour
Government, but with more safety regulations in case it goes
"very very wrong", Labour's energy and resources spokesman
David Shearer said this morning.
Mr Shearer appeared on The Nation this morning to talk
about Labour's oil drilling policy.
"We support oil drilling [and] we have done in the past,
there's no major change there," he said.
"What we want to see is a regime very much like in Norway
where there is good processes of approval, there's tight
regulations ... a regime for making sure that money is used
well, and at the same time making sure our transition to
renewable [energy] goes [ahead]."
Ultimately, fossil fuels were "out" and not sustainable for
the future, but New Zealand could use them to transition to
renewables, he said.
Mr Shearer said a Labour Government would make improvements
to safety measures and increase local involvement.
"[Currently] we do not have New Zealanders overseeing the
exploratory rigs doing the drilling. We should have our own
people on the ground."
Equipment to respond to an oil spill had to be on site and
ready to go in case of an accident, he said.
However, Anadarko's current oil clean-up plan would take at
least a month to plug a leak, and 115 days for a rig to
Asked whether drilling was acceptable under those
circumstances, Mr Shearer dodged the question, instead
drawing parallels with the airline industry.
"It's very very safe, but when it goes wrong, it goes very
very wrong. And what we want to have is an Air New Zealand
rather than an Air Togo."
Following a fruitless summer of oil exploration, Mr Shearer
was asked whether the $12 billion oil drilling industry
touted by National was "a mirage".
"It's anybody's guess," he said.
"Putting all our cards on the table and say 'our economic
development is going to depend on the discovery of oil' is
nonsense. It's like walking into a casino and hoping the ball
lands on number 36."
Royalties could be raised when more oil was discovered, but
hiking them now would "kill the industry", he said.
Mr Shearer said the policy wouldn't affect a potential
coalition with the Green Party.
His comments come amid National Party plans to allow oil and
gas drilling in a marine sanctuary, home to the critically
endangered Maui 's dolphin.