Crown going ahead with offering offshore blocks

. . . despite East Coast opposition

. . . despite East Coast opposition

Simon Bridges, Minister of Energy and Resources, speaks last year at a petroleum summit.

NZ Herald file photo
Last year's Block Offer.

IN the face of opposition from local bodies the length of the East Coast, the Crown has decided to go ahead with plans to make large tracts of an offshore area available to petroleum explorers.

After releasing one onshore and four offshore proposed areas for consultation late last year, Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges has announced the finalised blocks available.

It includes a 68,661 square-kilometre area of the Pegasus and East Coast Basins — stretching from around Kaikoura in the south to beyond East Cape in the north.

A large portion of the East Coast Basin from south of Napier to the top of the South Island had already been permitted via block offers in earlier years.

However, under the new Block Offer 2016, petroleum companies will be able to bid to explore the remaining areas — including a large tract off Gisborne.

The Gisborne Herald understands the decision to offer the territory unchanged was based on new information in the 2016 Petroleum Data Exploration Pack, compiled by Crown body New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals.

GDC among opposition

Gisborne District Council was among local bodies to oppose the original proposal for the Pegasus/East Coast area, which it did due to the potential environmental impacts of petroleum drilling and because “the economic benefits of oil exploration to the region do not appear to outweigh the environmental risks”.

Opposition or requests for special conditions were also voiced by Greater Wellington Regional Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Kaikoura District Council, Maungaharuru Tangitu Trust; Napier City Council, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Ngati Kahungunu ki Tamaki nui-a-rua Trust, Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust, Poronia Hineana Te Rangi Whanau, Te Hika o Papauma Mandated Iwi Authority, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou.

While most wanted to be informed and consulted about any activity in the basins, both Kahungunu (Hawke’s Bay) submitters restated their desire to receive a share of royalties from any oil or gas extracted.

Ngati Porou runanganui frustrated

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou told NZPAM it was frustrated at the lack of “early and meaningful” engagement with government officials regarding oil and gas issues, and said it should be the decision-makers on activities affecting resources within Ngati Porou territory. The runanganui wanted any area within its rohe to be excluded from Block Offer 2016.

“However, if the Crown proceeds to include this area, TRONPnui requests that they be included in the evaluation and selection for tenders within their rohe and in deciding conditions to be imposed.”

NZPAM rebuffed TRONP’s assertion that “the Treaty of Waitangi must be the centre of Crown-Maori relationship in respect to mineral resources”. It issued the runanganui with a Crown minerals protocol setting out how consultation would occur.

“Under the Petroleum Act 1937, petroleum was declared the property of the Crown for the benefit of all New Zealanders and is therefore not available for redress of grievances under the Treaty,” NZPAM says.

The total area confirmed for Block Offer 2016 covers 525,515 square kilometres.

Bids are now open for the available areas and Mr Bridges says permits will be issued in December of this year.

IN the face of opposition from local bodies the length of the East Coast, the Crown has decided to go ahead with plans to make large tracts of an offshore area available to petroleum explorers.

After releasing one onshore and four offshore proposed areas for consultation late last year, Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges has announced the finalised blocks available.

It includes a 68,661 square-kilometre area of the Pegasus and East Coast Basins — stretching from around Kaikoura in the south to beyond East Cape in the north.

A large portion of the East Coast Basin from south of Napier to the top of the South Island had already been permitted via block offers in earlier years.

However, under the new Block Offer 2016, petroleum companies will be able to bid to explore the remaining areas — including a large tract off Gisborne.

The Gisborne Herald understands the decision to offer the territory unchanged was based on new information in the 2016 Petroleum Data Exploration Pack, compiled by Crown body New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals.

GDC among opposition

Gisborne District Council was among local bodies to oppose the original proposal for the Pegasus/East Coast area, which it did due to the potential environmental impacts of petroleum drilling and because “the economic benefits of oil exploration to the region do not appear to outweigh the environmental risks”.

Opposition or requests for special conditions were also voiced by Greater Wellington Regional Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Kaikoura District Council, Maungaharuru Tangitu Trust; Napier City Council, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Ngati Kahungunu ki Tamaki nui-a-rua Trust, Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust, Poronia Hineana Te Rangi Whanau, Te Hika o Papauma Mandated Iwi Authority, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou.

While most wanted to be informed and consulted about any activity in the basins, both Kahungunu (Hawke’s Bay) submitters restated their desire to receive a share of royalties from any oil or gas extracted.

Ngati Porou runanganui frustrated

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou told NZPAM it was frustrated at the lack of “early and meaningful” engagement with government officials regarding oil and gas issues, and said it should be the decision-makers on activities affecting resources within Ngati Porou territory. The runanganui wanted any area within its rohe to be excluded from Block Offer 2016.

“However, if the Crown proceeds to include this area, TRONPnui requests that they be included in the evaluation and selection for tenders within their rohe and in deciding conditions to be imposed.”

NZPAM rebuffed TRONP’s assertion that “the Treaty of Waitangi must be the centre of Crown-Maori relationship in respect to mineral resources”. It issued the runanganui with a Crown minerals protocol setting out how consultation would occur.

“Under the Petroleum Act 1937, petroleum was declared the property of the Crown for the benefit of all New Zealanders and is therefore not available for redress of grievances under the Treaty,” NZPAM says.

The total area confirmed for Block Offer 2016 covers 525,515 square kilometres.

Bids are now open for the available areas and Mr Bridges says permits will be issued in December of this year.

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william hough - 3 years ago
Come on, this Government spends millions on trivial rubbish like a flag yet dictates selling huge chunks of our country's resources. What's the rush in selling it? It's not profitable to extract anyways - why not leave it for future generations to earn from it?

Sandi - 3 years ago
This is another example of ignoring what the people think. Your legacy to yours and our children will be one of shame. The Petroleum Act 1937 in this case is just another loophole found to escape common sense. Benefit which New Zealanders? Please quantify this? Who will mostly benefit? Will you promise that only New Zealanders will be working on these projects?

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