Thursday, November 01, 2018

Labour entrenches bad faith

The Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill, which is supposedly about banning offshore oil exploration, is back before the House for its second reading this afternoon. I say "supposedly", because the government has left loopholes in the bill the oil industry can drive a supertanker through, in the form of rights to vary and convert permits. Many submitters (including myself) warned the government about these loopholes, and urged that they be closed. But rather than close them, the government has instead chosen to entrench them in law, with a specific clause saying that existing permits will be treated as if the law had never been passed. This incidentally means that the prohibition on drilling on Taranaki conservation land will not apply, and that those permits could be extended onto DoC land, but I guess the government doesn't care about that, any more than it care about climate change.

I am hoping that the Greens will put up some amendments at the committee stage to fix the bill, but I doubt they will pass. Which will simply mean we will need further legislation in future to close those loopholes. Because if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, the oil industry must be destroyed - and that means not just ending exploration, but stopping all future drilling, and (eventually) closing existing wells. The earlier we do that, the safer we will be.