Government lacks plan for oil and gas transition – Mayor

The AM Show 25/09/2018

New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom says the Government has "no plan" for Taranaki's future without oil and gas.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has warned the Government's decision to end offshore oil and gas exploration could cost nearly $8 billion in lost tax over 23 years and will increase risks around security of supply and increase costs to consumers.

Appearing on The AM Show on Tuesday, Mr Holdom says it's "not good news for the region" and doesn't want "Mt Eden nanas shivering in the dark with the lights off".

He says we're going to need major investments in energy infrastructure to ensure energy security and ensure there is a stable economic transition for people and his region - but this isn't happening.

"What that needs is the Government to make some significant investments now," he told host Duncan Garner.

"Right now the Government has no plan."

The Government takes issue with the modelling, saying the GNS report MBIE relied upon for its data cautioned that it was attempting to "quantify what is almost unquantifiable", and fails to take into account potential from existing exploration permits.

Currently, there are 22 existing offshore exploration permits covering roughly 100,000 square kilometres.

Mr Holdom says the government's pulling $160 million per year in mineral royalties out of his region and wants to see this level of funding returned. But already the ban has cost jobs, while so far little money has trickled back.

"We've seen some promises of some funding and it's yet to eventuate," he told Garner.

"Since the announcement we've had about a million and a half, so we've had [small] change."

On Monday, Minister for Energy and Resources Megan Woods said we need to start changing now to prevent climate change taking hold.

"We can't expect to rely on fossil fuels for our jobs and prosperity forever," she says.

"The world is moving away from them and we have to be ready. That's why we are planning for the transition now to ensure we are creating jobs in new industries and in new forms of energy."

Mr Holdom calls the move towards renewables a "critical situation" for New Zealand - and has a dire warning if we get it wrong.

"The impact of this decision will hit in 10 years. If we get it right we'll still have a stable energy supply, affordable energy prices and a robust economy," he says.

"But if we get it wrong, we could end up like Germany... because they bet on all these expensive renewables and they didn't do the foundation work."

Watch the full interview with Neil Holdom above. 

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.

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