The call comes after it was recently revealed that Bridges, who also holds the associate climate change portfolio, was unaware that he had allowed swathes of Department of Conservation land to be opened up to the oil and gas industry.
Last week, Bridges announced that another 40 million hectares of sea and one million hectares of land would be available for the oil and gas industry. Part of this included a 200,000 hectare DoC park.
Nathan Argent, Greenpeace’s chief policy advisor, said:
“Simon Bridges has got to be sacked. He’s utterly, eye-wateringly incompetent.
“He’s handed over millions of hectares of New Zealand, including pristine forest, to the oil and gas industry. He either knew that this included hundreds of thousands of hectares of DOC land, or he didn’t know. Either way, that is incompetent.
“In his rush to do the bidding of the oil industry, he’s ignoring our own, cutting-edge clean energy industry, which adds yet another layer of incompetency. The clean energy sector could provide tens of thousands of jobs, and give our economy a multi-billion dollar boost. The oil industry cannot come close to matching these figures.
“The only benefit to Bridges staying as energy minister is that he is an increasing liability for the very oil industry that he desperately wants to please.
“If the Prime Minister won’t sack him, then it’s all too clear that this government favours incompetency and the oil industry over innovation, prosperity and own clean energy companies.
“For the sake of our country, our future prosperity, our seas and our forests, just go, Simon.”
Earlier this year, the government made exploratory oil and gas drilling a ‘non-notified discretionary activity’, which means that the public will not be consulted before oil companies start drilling. Last year, Bridges was criticised for introducing new offences which criminalised aspects of peaceful protests at sea.
For more information, please contact:
Nathan Argent, chief policy advisor, Greenpeace New Zealand: 021 971 234
Niall Bennett, head of communications, Greenpeace New Zealand: 0221 831 740