8 Jun 2012

Iwi feedback changes oil and gas search plan

6:31 pm on 8 June 2012

The Ministry of Economic Development says it has listened hard to iwi - and has decided to reduce the number of areas that will be searched for oil and gas.

It will not offer exploration permits for two land-based Taranaki regions, because tribes want wahi tapu sites to be protected.

The MED's original plan was to offer permits for 25 areas, but that has been scaled back to 23 due to feedback from tribes about the sacred sites.

General manager of the MED's petroleum and minerals division David Binnie does not rule out the areas being explored in the future.

He says feedback highlighted a large number of sacred sites which regional councils are working on recognising.

Mr Binnie says the search area of another block - in Waikato - has been reduced in size due to sacred sites.