The Government is bending over backwards to help the oil and gas sectors at the cost to taxpayers, says Greenpeace’s executive director Bunny McDiarmid.
Speaking on TV3’s The Nation, Ms McDiarmid said the government had invested $20 million so far to attract oil companies, had spent $46 million in tax breaks, and was passing legislation to make it easier for the companies to set up in New Zealand.
“The New Zealand Government is making it incredibly easy for these guys to get in, incredibly easy to take all their profits away.
But Chris Baker, the CEO of Straterra which advocates for mining companies, disagrees that the mining sector has it made.
“There’s nothing easy in the ride, and there’s nothing mutually exclusive about the options that we’ve got if there’s an economic case for more investment in geothermal energy,” said Mr Baker.
David Robinson, the CEO of Petroluem Exploration and Production Association (PEPANZ), said New Zealand had the best regulations in the world.
“The reality of our industry is we have to jump through so many hoops to go and drill a well, it’s not funny.”
He also dismissed Ms McDiarmid’s claim that offshore explorers get preferential treatment through legislation
He said the industry contributes greatly to the national economy, and New Zealand was in competition with every other nation around the world for the explorer’s dollar.
“There are plenty of other places around the world to explore for oil, and every country that has it tries to get it out and use it.”
But Ms McDiarmid said the Government should be investing in other areas to create a clean energy economy which allowed New Zealanders to keep the money in the country.“We’re at a point in our economy where we have to make choices about where we put a limited amount of our financial investment.
“Why would we choose to put it into deep sea oil when we have the world class clean energy resources here?”