Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Developing the resources to power our economic recovery

ACT will:

  • Fast-track resource development by introducing a streamlined process for consenting projects and granting land access, while protecting areas with high biodiversity and conservation values
  • Require mining companies to put up hefty bonds, undertake progressive restoration, and make significant investments to produce biodiversity dividends
  • Repeal the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits
  • Repeal the Zero Carbon Act and the Emissions Trading Scheme and introduce a no-nonsense climate change plan which ties our carbon price to that of our trading partner.

“ACT will develop the resources to power New Zealand’s economic recovery while requiring mining companies to undertake significant biodiversity enhancements,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“600,000 Kiwis have moved across the ditch because resources have made Australia wealthier, producing more job opportunities, better infrastructure, education and healthcare.

“Meanwhile, our Government is preventing us from taking advantage of our wealth by banning offshore oil and gas exploration and promising to ban new mines on conservation land.

“It takes too long – between 5 and 10 years – to get permits and resource consents to open a new mine. Only investors with the deepest pockets would consider it. Companies are unlikely to risk investing here, especially given the rug was pulled out from under the oil and gas sector in 2018.

“ACT will give companies the confidence to invest in our recovery by introducing a streamlined consenting process for resource projects and land access, with requirements for DOC and the EPA to consider and decide applications in fewer than 12 months.

“Debates about mining have failed to distinguish between high and low value conservation land. DOC maintains tracks and huts, and manages pests, but there’s little money to invest in biodiversity enhancements in areas that do have high conservation values. By opening low value conservation land for development, we can free up the resources to do real conservation work where it counts.

“Companies will also be required to put up hefty bonds to cover the risk of unforeseen events and final closure. Restoration will be undertaken not at the end of the mine’s life, but progressively. We will also require companies make investments to produce biodiversity dividends that will exceed what is currently mandated by DOC and regional councils, and what government can afford.

“The Government dropped a wrecking ball on the oil and gas industry by banning new offshore oil and gas exploration permits without warning,” says ACT’s Energy and Resources Spokesperson Simon Court.

“We desperately need a cheap and plentiful supply of clean energy to power our recovery and the industries that generate the wealth to pay for healthcare, education and infrastructure. But, on current estimates, we will run out natural gas reserves in seven years.

“Natural gas is vital in the short to medium-term to support a transition away from coal. It’s cheaper and quicker to bring on stream than new hydropower.

“ACT would repeal the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits to give industry the confidence to invest and sustain the high-value jobs we are at serious risk of losing while we transition away from coal.

“ACT was the only party to oppose the Zero Carbon Act. It’s overly bureaucratic and costly. It gives massive power over the economy to the Climate Change Minister, and it’s been called the most expensive legislation in our history.

“The law will force us to make significantly deeper emissions cuts than our trading partners and will push economic activity to other countries with lower environmental standards.

“ACT believes New Zealand must play its part on climate change. But any response must be simple to administer, politically durable, and effective.

“We would repeal the Zero Carbon Act and the Emissions Trading Scheme and introduce a no-nonsense climate change plan which ties New Zealand’s carbon price to the prices paid by our top five trading partners. This will show the world New Zealand is doing its bit. It is a simple and effective response to climate change.”