Adam Bennett at NZ Herald reports:
Northland-based Labour list MP Shane Jones has again hit out at the Green Party for opposing development of the regions’s resources, including oil and gas, which he says could help reduce spiralling Maori unemployment.
Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley this week announced which areas, including a large section of seabed off Ninety Mile Beach, would be opened up for oil and gas exploration next year. He said the Government had begun consultation with relevant iwi.
Green Party oceans spokesman Gareth Hughes said the Government was “gambling with New Zealand’s economy” by allowing the exploration in deep water, “because if there is a leak there is no sure way to stop it”.
This is just exploration, not drilling. The Greens are against us even knowing what it down there.
But Mr Jones, who has clashed with the Greens before over the prospect of mining in Northland and also over the party’s criticism of the fishing industry, said Mr Hughes’ opposition was premature.
“Let the information be uncovered first. It may be that the area is commercially barren, not unlike the minds conceiving that Green rhetoric.”
Mr Jones did not think the prospects of any significant oil and gas industry in Northland in the short term were high, “but in the absence of information you can guarantee you’ll never see it up there”.
“Let these decisions be made in a rational fashion, not this kneejerk emotionalism that one comes to expect from the Green Party.”
Decisions made on science, not kneejerk emotionalism? That would be a good thing.
If only Shane was speaking for Labour. Alas. Spokesperson Moana Mackey tweeted:
No it’s his personal view
Labour needs a couple more MPs who are pro-economy and pro-science.