Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited Taranaki for the first time since the Government’s surprise announcement in April to ban new offshore oil and gas exploration permits.
Taranaki leaders met with Ms Ardern to discuss the "just transition" unit set up help Taranaki move to a low emission economy.
The Government’s move to end exploration was described as a “kick in the guts” by New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom, with $1.57 billion of Taranaki’s GDP credited to the oil and gas industry.
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Local leaders used Ms Ardern’s visit to ask for a compensation package of $42 million over the next three years to go toward a regional economic strategy in order to assist with the transition.
But Ms Ardern told RadioLIVE Drive that the Government has already committed $20 million for Taranaki to invest in economic development and $100,000 toward a New Energy Development Centre to be based in Taranaki.
“We owe it to Taranaki to do planning that stops them from feeling the jarring effects of a fluctuating industry like oil and gas has been,” she told RadioLIVE.
Ms Ardern wouldn’t say whether the Government would approve of the requested compensation package.
“There are existing exploration permits out there. On-shore exploration permitting continues to be offered. So that activity should continue for that region for some time. This is about planning what happens after that.
“There is more work to be done about what that future technology profile looks like,” she said. “That’s what we’re planning together.”
Listen to the full interview with Jacinda Ardern above.