Climate change: National Party leader Christopher Luxon defends calling for corporations to slash emissions while saying he would scrap oil and gas ban

National Party leader Christopher Luxon has defended calling for corporations to slash their emissions while saying he would allow oil and gas exploration. 

Luxon said the Government has killed the oil and gas industry, which has increased the amount of Indonesian coal being imported into New Zealand. 

In 2020, New Zealand imported more than a million tonnes of "dirty" coal, for the first time since 2006.

Luxon told AM on Wednesday that even though oil and gas aren't the long-term solutions, it isn't as bad as importing coal.   

"Here's the challenge right, on the energy sector, at the moment we have gone and killed the oil and gas industry in New Zealand without thinking about what comes second or third or the consequences," Luxon told AM host Ryan bridge.  

"Now we are importing massive amounts of Indonesian coal to power up Huntly Power Station, so the upshot is gas is not as bad as coal but it's not the ideal long-term solution either but we do need a transition. 

"That's why having shot the gas market overnight at very short notice and not really thinking about it, we are now importing huge amounts of Indonesian coal into this country, twice what we use to do under a National Government."   

Luxon said National is being "pragmatic" about the issue. 

"We are being pragmatic about it, which is fundamentally saying we don't want oil and gas in the long term but you don't go kill it overnight and then go to a worse carbon problem, which is the importation of coal," Luxon said. 

"When you talk to the energy sector, over the next 15 years, they're going to be making investments in renewable energy anyway and that problem will solve itself as the sector goes through it, but they need some transition and that is actually gas that gets us there."

National Party leader Christopher Luxon.
National Party leader Christopher Luxon. Photo credit: AM

Luxon said the solution is "not ideal" but it's the best option. 

"It's not ideal but it's better than importing boatloads of Indonesian coal, which is exactly what we are doing now because they didn't think of the consequences of knocking it on the head."  

Energy Minister Megan Woods said last year the increase in coal use is attributed to tight supply of gas production at the Pohokura gas field and dry weather conditions, which had an impact on hydro lake inflows. 

"It's utterly false to try and suggest that the current stockpiling of coal by electricity companies to manage the country's dry year storage problem and production decline of an existing gas field, has anything to do with the ban on future exploration of oil and gas," Dr Woods told Newshub last year

Watch the full interview with Christopher Luxon above.