18 Dec 2017

Mining permits to be taken case by case - Ardern

3:22 pm on 18 December 2017

The coalition government will allow new permits for coal mining, offshore oil drilling and fracking on a case-by-case basis, the Prime Minister says.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the RNZ Auckland studio for Morning Report. 30 October 2017.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Since the election the government has passed a family package under urgency, committed to an investigation into abuse in state care, and pledged to set up a new agency plan a manned re-entry of Pike River.

More recently details have emerged about the government's coalition negotiations after the election.

There were 33 questions in total from the Greens, Labour and National, but none from New Zealand First, which conducted parallel talks with both Labour and National.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Morning Report some of Labour's requests for official information were not specifically related to negotiations.

"These were things that we wanted to cost, not necessarily in relation to negotiations," she said.

"All of the things that for instance the Greens asked for information on, were things that they campaigned on."

The documents showed the Green Party requested costings for immediately halting all permits, which was estimated to be about $15 billion.

Ms Adern said the Labour Party would not allow any new mining on conservation land, but would consider other new permits individually.

"The public know the Greens' position, it's an important point of principle for their party," she said. "For us, it's about reaching a position that we're able to progress with."

"We've taken a position that we don't want new mining, new coal mining on the conservation estate but otherwise we've talked very firmly about the need to transition those economies and those industries rather than put bans in place.

"Every decision we take case by case. We recognise [coal mining]'s not our future but we have to transition. Particularly for those areas that have long had reliance on that part of our economy."

She said work was being done to ensure environmental factors were also taken into consideration when such permits are being issued.

Labour would work with the Greens on the problem.

"We've always been open about the fact, our position on the issue. We've always known theirs and we are an MMP government," Ms Ardern said.

"That's the way that we will work these issues through, is collectively."

Ms Ardern campaigned on the issue of climate change during the election, saying it was her generation's "nuclear-free moment".

She said introducing agriculture into the carbon credits scheme was also a concern but the government was working hard on establishing the new Climate Change Commission and that was the priority because it would provide an independent voice.

A West Coast mayor told RNZ he found the news alarming.

The Grey District Mayor, Tony Kokshoorn, said gold and coal mining provide thousands of jobs and without them the region would struggle.

He planned to meet government officials to talk about the issue in the new year.

Greenpeace said the Government should not be issuing any new permits for oil, gas and coal extraction, if it's really serious about climate change.

Russel Norman, the executive director of Greenpeace and former Green Party co-leader, said a stronger stand must be taken.

"We simply can't be issuing new permits for oil, gas and coal to expand those industries if we're serious about climate change," Dr Norman said.

"We're already starting to see the global effects of climate change. For our kids sake, for the planets sake, we need to reduce oil, gas and coal; not expand it with new permits."

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