May 19, 2019

NZ Government energy strategy wants to exploit fossil fuel reserves

Renewable resources are always better than finite ones.

A New Zealand Government Strategy paper says that tapping oil, gas and coal reserves is their top priority.

The paper called, Developing Our Energy Potential, wants exploring ”petroleum and mineral fuel” reserves put ahead of investing in renewable power sources and new power generation technologies.

New Zealand has an abundance of oil, coal and gas resources, but they are in many cases, hard to access, and exploitation comes at an environmental cost.

Understandably many environmetalists are outraged at the priority given to finite fossil fuel exploitation as a medium to long term strategy.

Environmental lobby group Coal Action Network Aotearoa spokeswoman Frances Mountier says ”The key underlying issue is that if we’re extracting fossil fuels, we’re going to be increasing our carbon emissions. You can’t pretend that we’re not.”

The paper was apparently put into the public domain by accident before being signed off by Cabinet. In the foreword, Acting Energy and Resources Minister Hekia Parata says “New Zealand has an abundance of renewable energy sources, such as wind and hydro, and the Government was committed to developing them”. However she goes on to say that “it was also committed to exploring oil, gas and coal reserves which were worth hundreds of billions of dollars and could become major export earners”.

”For too long now we have not made the most of the wealth hidden in our hills, under the ground, and in our oceans. It is a priority of this Government to responsibly develop those resources.”

Developing oil, gas and coal reserves was put ahead of increasing renewables, with new technologies ranked third.

The paper says any exploration and extraction would have ”rigorous” controls to reduce risks to the environment.

Newswarped thinks that the “rigorous controls” might be more strongly applied to environmental protesters rather than “risks” to the environment.

The government can’t have its cake and eat it too. If it wants to promote New Zealand as a “clean green” tourist destination, then it cannot heavily exploit on-shore fossil fuel reserves. The two are not compatable.

The Government is obviously concerned about the growing economic gap between New Zealand and Australia which is largely due to Australia’s mineral wealth and size.

With the NZ Government wanting to be some kind of ‘Australia Lite’ it is not going to benefit our country in the long term. All we will end up with is a wrecked environment and no fossil fuel reserves plundered by foreign multi-nationals.

Exploiting fossil fuels for short term gain is the kind of short sighted strategy that the industrial giants have employed for decadeswhich has got the world into an environmental mess in the first place.

New Zealand should be better than that. Why not be a world leader in renewable energy and new technologies? The fossil fuel era is rapidly drawing to a close. Alternative sources of energy are where the real money lies, not the rapid exploitation of resources that compromises New Zealands biggest revenue earner – Tourism.