An annual international survey on resource development has shown that New Zealand is on the nose, precipitated by the Ardern Government’s ban on new offshore exploration licences and clamp on new mines on conservation land.
Political reporter for the NZ Herald, Jason Walls, said an annual survey of the world's leading oil executives, which ranks the ease of investment into oil and gas producing countries, shows NZ has dramatically dropped down the list in terms of its attractiveness to investors.
Walls said the National Party opposition was not surprised with the report's findings but the Government was undeterred and remains “incredibly proud” of its oil and gas policies.
Canada’s Fraser Institute, which has run the survey every year for 12 years, asked executives to rank provinces, States and countries according to the extent to which barriers to investment in oil and gas exploration and production are present.
New Zealand's attractiveness to investors has dropped from the 14th highest country/region to 46 in the space of a year.
“This drop is based on poorer scores with respect to political stability, environmental regulations and protected areas and taxation in general," the report said.
Walls said the ban took the industry by surprise because it was not part of any confidence and supply or coalition agreement and had not been explicitly promised by Labour during the election campaign.
According to some industry players surveyed in the Fraser Institute report, this was a key reason for the drop in New Zealand's attractiveness.
“New Zealand's move to ban new offshore exploration is a deterrent for investors,” one reportedly said to the NZ Herald.
“Jurisdictions that are openly hostile towards resource development, like NZ, cause investors to take their investment dollars elsewhere,” said another.
National Party energy spokesman Jonathan Young was not surprised by this and said the ban had “scared off” potential investors and would cost the economy tens of millions of dollars.
He cited a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) regulatory impact statement that showed the estimated cost of the ban would be $7.9 billion between 2027 and 2050.
“We have been hearing that New Zealand has been black listed as an investment destination,” Young claimed.
ACT leader David Seymour said the survey shows the Government had trashed New Zealand's reputation as a destination for investment with its reckless oil and gas ban.
Energy Minister Dr Megan Woods stands by the Government's decision.
“We're incredibly proud of the fact that NZ is leading the world on a managed, long term transition to a clean energy future,” she reportedly said.
She noted that the Government was protecting all of the 100,000 square kilometres of acreage that's already been permitted – an area nearly the size of the North Island.
Climate Change Minister and Green Party leader James Shaw said he was unsurprised by the survey's results.
He said because oil and gas exploration was being phased out in New Zealand, there was not actually much more investment in the sector that was needed.
A total of 256 respondents participated in the Fraser Institute survey this year, providing sufficient data to evaluate 80 jurisdictions that hold 53% of proved global oil and gas reserves and account for 68% of global oil and gas production.