Historic oil ban in NZ puts spotlight on Australia’s fossil fuel addiction

April 12, 2018: New Zealand’s move towards a permanent ban on oil exploration puts Australia to shame and exposes the influence of the fossil fuel industry on our politics - threatening our coastlines and climate.

New Zealand’s government today announced it has banned all new offshore oil and gas exploration in an historic climate win that’s come after a seven-year campaign by an alliance between Greenpeace, Māori iwi, and the wider community.

“Today’s announcement is a watershed moment for the oil industry and a massive win for the people of New Zealand, showing years of people power-led campaigning can accomplish almost anything,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner, Nathaniel Pelle, said.

“This win will inspire the people of the Great Australian Bight to stand up to fight against Statoil’s plans to drill later this year in a project that puts the entire coastline from Esperance to the Great Ocean Road and even Tasmania and NSW at risk of an oil spill.

“Most Australians want a solution to climate change and there is no credible solution that involves continued exploration for oil and gas. The Federal government should consider the climate and the interests of the communities that rely on unpolluted oceans, and follow New Zealand’s example by putting a stop to oil exploration here in our waters.”

By ending new oil and gas exploration, the recently elected NZ Coalition Government has effectively put the fourth-largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on the planet — covering more than 4 million square kilometres — off limits for any new fossil fuel exploitation.

Just across the Tasman, Australia’s government plans to release even more oil and gas acreage in May this year, potentially opening up tens of thousands of square kilometres of Australia’s ocean to oil drilling, including zones which cross into a protected marine park in the Great Australian Bight.

Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman, says New Zealand’s Labour-led government elected in October last year has finally listened to people throughout the country who have campaigned to end to offshore oil and gas exploration:

“New Zealand has taken an historic step and a delivered a massive breakthrough for the climate, spurred on by the tens of thousands of people who have fought for years to protect our coasts from new oil and gas exploration,” said Norman.

“This sends a powerful message: We are ending the age of oil. Just as New Zealand did in 1987 when it went nuclear-free and stood up to the powerful US military, this has shown bold global leadership on the greatest challenge of our time — putting people ahead of the interests of oil corporations and the hunt for fossil fuels that are driving dangerous climate change.”

For interviews contact:

Simon Black
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner
0418 219 086 | [email protected]

Sophie Schroder
Media & Communications Officer, Greenpeace New Zealand
+64 21 086 47450 | [email protected]