Greenpeace is celebrating the announcement that New Zealand Oil & Gas will relinquish their deep sea exploration permit off the south coast of the South Island as “another win for the climate, for wildlife and for people power”. 

Known as ‘Toroa’, the 5,000 square kilometre permit was the last remaining oil and gas exploration permit outside of the Taranaki Basin.

“It’s heartening to know Aotearoa’s seabirds, whales, dolphins and other precious wildlife are safe from the risk of a catastrophic oil spill,” says Greenpeace Campaigner, Amanda Larsson.

“We are one step closer to being the clean, green nation that so many New Zealanders want us to be.”

The announcement comes with little fanfare, but marks another huge moment for people power, for iwi, hapū, environmental groups, and the hundreds of thousands of people who for the last decade have maintained one of the most relentless campaigns of the modern era to put an end to deep sea oil exploration in New Zealand.

“The polluting companies causing climate change are putting our wellbeing at risk. We’re seeing more storms, floods and droughts that are threatening coastal communities, food security and health. 

“Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders have stood up to protect their beaches, communities, children and grandchildren against companies intent on drilling for new oil and gas. Today’s announcement is a testament to their efforts.”

Greenpeace is calling on the Government to use the Covid recovery as an opportunity to invest in a society powered by clean, renewable energy.

“Burning dirty fuels like oil, gas and coal is causing a climate crisis. Fortunately, we don’t need to do this anymore. We already have the technology and the tools to power our homes, transport and businesses with clean energy from the sun, wind and water,” says Larsson.

“We can have homegrown and locally-produced energy that doesn’t pollute the air or the ocean. We can power our homes with our own energy, from the sunshine that beats down on our rooftops or the wind that blows through our farms.

“What we need is for the Government to invest in the changes that will make the biggest difference.

“We challenge Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern to make good on their election promise to Build Back Better and prioritise investing in clean energy projects in the May 2021 Budget.”


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