Block Offer 2018 consultation begins
Minister of Energy and Resources Dr Megan Woods has initiated consultation with iwi and hapū on the proposed Block Offer 2018 release area for petroleum exploration permits.
The proposed release area is restricted to onshore Taranaki, covering 2,200 square kilometres.
Consultation opened on 28 November 2018 and submissions will close on 12 March 2019.
The area for consultation includes 84 square kilometres of public conservation land. Following the passing of the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Act, access to conservation land for permit holders is prohibited except for minimum impact activities.
Land listed under Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act and Parihaka Pā are excluded from the proposed release area along with land that is being investigated by the New Plymouth District Council and Taranaki iwi with regard to possible wāhi tapu sites.
The purpose of the consultation is to identify areas of sensitivity or significance that the Minister needs to be aware of. This could include sites that might need to be protected for their cultural, social or spiritual significance. Submitters can ask the Minister to remove these blocks or areas within blocks, or put conditions on any permits over certain areas to protect them.
Since previous consultation on the proposed release area for Block Offer 2018 began in April, new legislation has passed and the proposed release area has grown making it inappropriate to rely on that consultation. Iwi and hapū are encouraged to work with New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals (NZ P&M) to ensure previous submissions are considered as part of the new consultation but also have the option of making amendments to an existing submission or lodging a new submission.
Once consultation is complete, NZ P&M will provide advice to the Minister who will decide the final area to be released for tender.
The tender is expected to open in the second quarter of 2019.