Government block offer announcement a major concern for Taranaki economy

12 April 2018

New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom said news the Government had halted offshore block offers was a kick in the guts for the long term future of the Taranaki economy and urgent work was needed on a plan to maintain Taranaki’s position as the provincial powerhouse of  New Zealand’s economy. 

“Thousands of households in Taranaki depend on the oil and gas industry and while we all want to see a more sustainable future for New Zealand we had expected to be having a comprehensive conversation about a planned and staged transition to a low carbon economy over the next 20 to 30 years with central government, local government, Iwi, the industry and other stakeholders actively contributing.” 

“Taranaki’s councils, its people and its businesses have been setting national benchmarks for environmental initiatives, innovations and performance for years because we have the people, the expertise and the culture to do amazing things so now it’s time for us to sit down with Government, for them to draw us a picture of how they will support the people of Taranaki as we transition to a low carbon economy and we expect there will need to be significant investments from Government in energy innovation, in education, reskilling of our people and in economic development.” 

“This announcement sends a message to some of Taranaki’s major investors and employers that they do not have a long term future in New Zealand, despite the fact the Crown pockets more than $300 million a year from Taranaki oil and gas royalties and our national electricity infrastructure and economy continues to rely on natural gas to keep the lights on across the nation. These are businesses that serve our community well, demonstrate leadership in environmental stewardship, community investment, safety and  operational excellence.” 

“I have spoken to the Minister of Energy Megan Woods and ensured she is clear that we want to know what the plan is to support our people, what the plan is to power our economy, what the plan is to support our businesses, what is the plan to support our communities through this period of transition.  

“Having generated billions in GDP and crown mineral royalties for NZ Inc over the years, our people will want to know what investments this Government will be making to mitigate the expected impacts on our household incomes and employment in what has been and continues to be the provincial rock star economy.” 

“I have spoken to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and expressed disappointment that the announcement was made prior to a combined plan being developed to move the Taranaki Region through this transition but also committed to working constructively with Government to develop a plan for our people, for our future employment and for a more sustainable economy while making it clear we expect to see a significant chunk of the $300 million plus of crown mineral royalties the government pockets from Taranaki each year reinvested in our economy over coming years to smooth the very real impacts of this major change in Government policy.”