Workshops to allow NRC to better understand all aspects of petroleum exploration

25 Aug 2015, 10:42 AM

NRC is organising two workshops to provide councillors, its Te Tai Tokerau Māori Advisory Committee and senior staff with a clear view of the regulations governing petroleum exploration, as well as exploration company Statoil's plans in Northland.

The first workshop is to be held in Whangarei this Friday. It will consist of a morning session, with Government agencies invited to attend including the Environmental Protection Agency, Maritime NZ, New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals (a branch of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)), the Ministry for the Environment, Worksafe New Zealand and the Department of Conservation.

This will be followed by an afternoon session with representatives of Statoil, which has been granted two exploration permits by the Government, approximately 100 kilometres off the Northland coast.

The second workshop – at a date to be confirmed – will provide an opportunity for those who oppose exploration to present information and answer questions.

Regional council chairman Bill Shepherd says the council has a responsibility to be well informed on the topic.

"We have a responsibility to understand the roles and functions of the multiple different regulators – which include both regional and district councils – and how they mesh together, as well as what the industry needs to do to obtain the necessary permits and consents to operate in New Zealand's offshore waters."

In recognition of the fact that there are strong views both for and against, Mr Shepherd said the council had chosen the option of closed workshops to allow information to be presented and questions answered in a structured manner.

"Both sides of the debate – for and against – will have equal although separate opportunities to explain their viewpoints."