Summit on a 'just transition' away from oil and gas to begin in New Plymouth

A forum discussing the country's shift to lower emissions begins in New Plymouth on Thursday, amid fears the city could be severely impacted by moves to cut oil and gas.

The Just Transition programme was set up by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help the Taranaki region -  which will be affected by the ban on new exploration permits - adjust to the new economy.

New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom says the city needs to stay afloat.

"[It's] to ensure that our economy doesn't become a casualty of New Zealand's desire to become a carbon-neutral economy by 2050."

The summit will last for two days, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to speak on Thursday morning. International experts are also expected to speak at the event.

Holdom says everyone is on the same page.

"I think the relationship is working well, we've certainly had access to a range of senior ministers from within Government and you know, aiming to potentially secure some investment over the next couple of days."

The summit is not the beginning of the work on transition though - Holdom says plenty has already been put in.

"The region sort of pulled together with businesses, iwi, councils and a number of other groups including the unions to do a huge piece of work."

The Government announced the introduction of legislation to make New Zealand carbon-neutral by 2050 on Wednesday.