Mineral plan meets motley criticism

The Government's new Minerals and Petroleum Resource Strategy has drawn criticism from very different quarters.

Greenpeace has taken issue with the 10-year plan's assumption of continued oil and gas exploration in New Zealand.

Activist Amanda Larsson described it as "an insult" in the context of a new study by more than 11,000 scientists warning of a climate emergency.

"If the New Zealand Government wants to live up to its reputation as a global leader on climate action, an appropriate response to the climate emergency would include a commitment to immediately end new fossil fuel exploration on land and at sea, alongside a timeline for rapidly winding down the coal, oil, and gas industries," she said.

The strategy, "Responsibly Delivering Value - A Minerals and Petroleum Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand: 2019-2029," provides direction for a transition to a low carbon economy.

Its draft attracted 546 submissions from a range of environmental groups, the oil and gas sector, the minerals and quarry sector, research institutes and the general public.

The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) also took issue with the strategy, albeit for very different reasons to Greenpeace.

While it supported the goals of lowering emissions and growing the economy, PEPANZ said boards need "clear and consistent" signals to make long-term investment decisions.

"We do not see how the confused signals, objectives and principles contained in the strategy can be operationalised in practical and meaningful ways.

"As demonstrated globally, lowering emissions and using the full suite of energy resources are compatible objectives."

PEPANZ said that natural gas can be a major part of the transition by replacing higher emitting energy sources and encouraging electrification by keeping the cost of electricity down and the lights on.

It argued that "unlocking everyone's innovative capability to lower emissions rather than picking different fuel or technology types as winners or losers should be the goal of a progressive resources framework".

The strategy will be used to inform a review of the Crown Minerals Act 1991.

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