Shane Jones slams 'woke-riddled left' amid energy debate, Chlöe Swarbrick fires back

Resources Minister Shane Jones has come out swinging at the "woke-riddled left" during an energy debate in Parliament. 

The NZ First MP accused Opposition parties of a "faint green vision" to "keep the lights on with unicorn kisses". 

It comes after the Government said earlier on Wednesday low gas production is threatening New Zealand's energy security.  

Figures released by the Gas Industry Company show production reduced by 12.5 percent during 2023 and by 27.8 percent in the first three months of this year - beyond what was projected. 

The figures are concerning for those who rely on gas - such as schools, hospitals, universities, food and chemical processors and electricity generators. 

It's causing companies such as Genesis Energy to resort to importing coal, which has higher emissions. 

"Today, industry sees the long-term consequences of the shallow, emerald, mannikin thinking that's driven energy policy for the last five or six years," Jones said. "Today industry throughout New Zealand is confronted by the fact as a consequence of that juvenile, woke-riddled, foolish belief that we don't need our natural resources, that we don't need our natural gas, that we don't need coal - has been laid bare." 

"You voted for it" and "Look in the mirror" were among several interjections Green Party co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick made while Jones spoke.  

Jones was referring to the 2018 decision to ban all new oil and gas exploration in New Zealand, except for onshore Taranaki. The decision was reluctantly backed by NZ First, which was in a Coalition Government with Labour at the time. 

The current Coalition Government said it would repeal the present oil and gas exploration ban. 

Jones, gesturing to the other side of the House, said left-wing parties are scaring away overseas investors for a "faint green vision that somehow we can keep the lights on with unicorn kisses". 

"Hopefully, these emerald manikins will retire and let the serious politicians address the unresolved issues in our economy," Jones continued. 

Green Party energy spokesperson Scott Willis said the Government is "pouring more fuel on the climate crisis". 

He said there is an abundance of renewable energy potential in Aotearoa. 

"When will the Government acknowledge that a modern, flexible, distributed renewable electricity system is feasible, is simple and can be delivered now? 

"… The minister and his colleagues say they want to overcome green unicorn thinking. I suggest it would be far better to embrace science-based thinking in transition engineering to build a sustainable future, rather than die as a dinosaur in a climate hell." 

Jones said further exploration, delivery and investment in oil and gas, if it meets the criteria, will get a permit under the Government's Fast-track Approvals Bill - the same as renewable energy projects would. 

He challenged the Opposition to name one bill passed by the "other side of the House" to deliver rapid, clean and green energy investment. 

"No, you can't… We're going to hear about a pipeline of climate change dreams but absolutely no content," Jones said. 

Jones said the energy industry could rely on the fast-track legislation accompanied by reopening oil and gas to avoid energy blackouts and bring confidence back in investors, not "juvenile, foolish tiddlywink games". 

"The grown-ups are in charge; energy is on the way."