“The Government was warned its hasty virtue signalling policy of banning new oil and gas exploration would have the opposite of its intended impact on the domestic economy and the global environment, and so it looks set to play out with New Zealand’s official gas industry body investigating importing gas from Australia,” says ACT Climate Change spokesperson Simon Court.

“Almost everywhere but New Zealand gas is being seen as a plentiful and useful transition fuel away from oil and coal as the world moves toward greater de-carbonisation.

“But not in New Zealand, where we’re now importing more coal than before the policy came in to help keep the lights on.

“This is a scary preview of a world where we're not allowed to look for oil and gas.

“This Government’s heart is in the right place but they’re environmental and economic vandals.

“Rather than making it less attractive to get gas out of the ground they should have made it easier.

“Around 450,000 New Zealand homes and businesses use natural gas, with almost 40,000 connecting to networks in the past five years.

“Now the Climate Commission wants to ban all new gas connections, which will also be counterproductive.

“ACT says gas, like every greenhouse gas emitting fuel, should be subject to a proper Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), allowing businesses and individuals to make rational decisions based on the increasing cost of emissions.

“Lots of people prefer gas over electricity for the things they use every day – showers, ovens, barbecues.

“ACT says let Kiwi families and businesses have the choice to keep using gas, now and in the future.

“Rather than meddling in people’s lives the Government should introduce a comprehensive ETS, let industry work out how to adapt and the market decide what it's willing to pay for.”