Consultation opens on Block Offer 2019
New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals has today initiated consultation with iwi and hapū on the proposed Block Offer 2019 release area for petroleum exploration permits.
The proposed release area is restricted to the onshore Taranaki region, and covers 2568 square kilometres.
Under the consultation process, iwi and hapū can request the removal of certain areas within blocks, or seek conditions on any permits over certain areas to protect them.
“In response to issues raised during consultation for Block Offer 2018 an additional engagement condition was included in the 2018 Invitation for Bids document so I encourage iwi and hapū to take part in the process,” says Sarah Kenward, acting National Manager, Petroleum and Minerals.
“The new condition explicitly required permit holders to engage with iwi on an ongoing basis, with specific early engagement requirements in relation to activities to be undertaken within 200 metres of areas of significance to iwi.
“This built on previous conditions to provide active protection for significant sites, and allows for a consistent approach across all iwi and hapū, not just those who made submissions.”
Last year’s change to the Crown Minerals Act 1991 not only restricts the Block Offer process to the onshore Taranaki region, but it prohibits access to conservation land, as part of the Block Offer process, except for minimum impact activities.
The area for consultation does not include any land listed in Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act (including national parks, nature reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries) or World Heritage sites.
Consultation closes on 20 November 2019 and it is expected the final area for tender will be announced in the first half of 2020.