Election 2023: Labour says National's offshore wind farm plan is already happening

National's promising to make it easier and faster to build offshore wind farms.

Christopher Luxon says he'll introduce regulations to fast-track permits within a year if he takes office. But Labour says that's already happening.

The Taranaki coastline is a good spot for a wind farm - and for the windswept selfie National's leader took with his team to celebrate unveiling their plan to make it happen.

"We have a very large coastline so there's [a] huge opportunity for this to be a very significant game-changer and contributor to the renewable energy mix we need," Luxon said.

Wind farms built in the ocean are commonplace overseas but they don't exist in New Zealand, so neither does any solid regulatory framework, although it has been in the pipeline.

"Labour's been working on plans, but you know Labour. As I say, they can't deliver a pizza," Luxon said.

"We are already fast-tracking offshore wind work. The fact National seems to have discovered offshore wind is a good idea is a welcome sign. But it's something the Government's already doing," Labour leader Chris Hipkins said.

The Nats want to introduce new offshore wind permits which would allow feasibility studies to be carried out. If it's feasible, resource consents must be processed within two years and permits must be used, or developers will lose them.

"This is the choice, we are either serious about climate change and meeting our climate change goals or keep talking about it with bumper stickers," Luxon said.

But how serious is Luxon about climate change? Yes, he wants wind farms in Taranaki but they'd be next to new oil rigs, because he wants to lift the ban on oil and gas exploration.

"We know that gas is not our long-term solution, it's a transitory solution as we transition to renewables. But we need it," Luxon said.

But Green Party co-leader James Shaw described that as "completely inconsistent".

"Nobody who is going exploring for more oil and gas is serious about climate change," he said.

Oil and gas is a big part of Taranaki's economy - the residents of the retirement village Luxon visited were in two minds about it though.

"Don't want the planet to explode before I pass away, anyway," one person told Newshub.

"I think they should bring it back. Brought a lot of economy, a lot of money into the district," another said.

Offshore wind isn't all child's play though and it comes with its own environmental impacts too.

"There are some environmental impacts. They are limited but you need to manage for them," Shaw said.

"We can manage all of the environmental considerations, we can manage all of that. But we need to get going," Luxon added.

He's not just serving up ice cream in Taranaki, but promising to serve up offshore wind permits in at least 12 months if elected.