“A new report from EnergyLink shows that ACT was correct right from the beginning, Labour’s oil and gas ban wasn’t environmental policy, it was a publicity stunt,” says ACT’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Simon Court.

“The report states that if New Zealand didn’t have to rely on coal from 2017-2022, and used natural gas instead, we could have avoided 3.5 million tonnes of emissions.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it also makes a case for why the ban needs to be lifted for the future. If New Zealand used natural gas instead of coal it is projected to save 1.1 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030.

“The oil and gas ban made for great headlines, but it was poorly thought out and means New Zealand is now further away from carbon efficient electricity generation. ACT would repeal it.

“The Government is trying to lead us back into the dark ages. We need clean natural gas as a transition fuel and the alternative to mining our own energy resources is importing more coal from Indonesia.

“Kiwis also need a cost effective and reliable way to keep lights and heaters running on a cold and still night in winter, when the wind is light and the dams are low.

“The old and trusty Huntly power station typically runs on around 85 per cent coal and only 15 per cent gas, but it can run on 100 per cent gas. Switching to gas would be a simple and effective way to reduce emissions and reliance on imported coal.

“The decision to ban new offshore oil and gas exploration in 2018 was done without analysis, without a Cabinet decision, and without public consultation.

“It was subsequently revealed that there was no cost-benefit analysis and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment found it would actually increase global emissions by forcing activity offshore.

“Global coal exporters have been the biggest benefactors of the policy. According to figures from MBIE, coal use for electricity generation was up 29.5 per cent in 2022. There is no environmental benefit to this policy if coal is imported instead.

“ACT proposes a realistic, no-nonsense climate change policy that matches our efforts with our trading partners’ with minimal bureaucracy. We should set a cap on total emissions in line with the actual reductions of our trading partners, then allow New Zealanders to make their own choices about the energy they use and consume based on price signals from the Emissions Trading Scheme.

“It is increasingly clear that New Zealand will need real change come 2023. ACT is ready to provide the backbone for a new Government.”

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