Jacinda Ardern fronts Taranaki oil and gas workers in closed door meeting

The Prime Minister has made her first trip to New Zealand's oil and gas heartland since announcing a ban on future exploration permits.

Jacinda Ardern told workers and bosses that their jobs are still safe but not everyone was reassured.

It's been six weeks since these Taranaki oil and gas workers were told their industry has a limited lifespan. 

Today, they finally got their chance to put their worries to the Prime Minister face to face. 

One oil and gas worker Merv Mackay said, "I'm hoping to get answers and questions... and why she's doing it?"

There was a closed door meeting between union members, the Prime Minister, Energy Minister Megan Woods and senior Labour MP Andrew Little in an attempt to reassure locals worried about their livelihoods. 

Ms Adern said her main message for the workers was to "provide certainty that of course they deserve."

Ms Ardern and her high-powered entourage also met with local government leaders.

New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom came away from the meeting still concerned about the economic impact of the Government's decision. 

He said, "The Prime Minister's visit is welcome, but we're still got this element of uncertainty."

Ms Ardern re-affirmed the Government's position that no current jobs in the region will be lost.

She says there are 57 existing permits for offshore and onshore exploration and that could provide work for another 40 years.

She also promised to work with the region to promote what it calls a "just transition" to a cleaner economy.

The Prime Minister also met with representatives of the oil and gas industry - who believe it has a role in a low-carbon economy.

PEPANZ chief executive Cameron Madgwick said, "We think it's critical to energy security to get oil and gas permits issued."

And that's something National leader Simon Bridges has pledged to do, if his party wins the next election.

Workers emerged from today's meeting an hour later - with a mix of scepticism and reassurance.

One worker Jake Bowden told Newshub, "She was basically reassuring us about future projects and said we wouldn't lose our jobs."

An assurance the Prime Minister will now be held to.