Gareth Hughes: Oil drilling not our future

Opinion 17/04/2019

Gareth Hughes, Green Party MP

I’ve been a climate campaigner for nearly twenty years and I’ve never been as hopeful and as inspired as I was at the recent Youth Climate Strike. Young Kiwis in their thousands came together demanding action on the greatest issue of our generation. The movement’s organiser, Swedish 16 year-old Greta Thunberg, challenged the world to act as if the house was on fire.

Will the world listen to the alarm bells?

The Green Party is listening and we are working on delivering the Zero Carbon Act, have achieved a 100% renewable electricity target, and have doubled public transport funding for the next decade.

My proudest moment in Government after campaigning for years was the end to new offshore oil and gas permits.

Last week, one year after announcing this brave and historic decision, an Austrian oil and gas giant named OMV announced they will be seeking a consent to drill a number of wells in the Great South Basin. This company is one of the 100 companies responsible for 71% of climate pollution harming our world. The Green Party has described this drilling announcement as bad news for the planet and opposed the permit extension they are benefiting from.

At a time when scientists are saying we have to reduce emissions urgently in the next twelve years, this company wants to drill for fossil fuels over that very time. Scientists have said we can’t afford to burn 70-90% of the fossil fuels we have already discovered if we want to avoid guaranteed catastrophic climate change. Yet this company wants to look for even more oil deep off the Otago coast.

The youth are saying the house is on fire.

Looking for more oil we can’t afford to burn is like pouring petrol on that fire.

Our future is clean energy not fossil fuels.

Garreth Hughes is MP for the Green Party.