Opinion: Jacinda Ardern's big call on offshore oil: Is this her nuclear-free moment?

Alex Braae for The Spinoff

OPINION: Jacinda Ardern sprung a surprise this morning in announcing an end to offshore oil exploration.

So what's the catch?

What's this all about then?

A few weeks after PM Jacinda Ardern stepped onto the parliament forecourt to accept a petition from Greenpeace, speculation has been swirling that a ban on offshore oil exploration was imminent. And today, it's going to come to pass - which really is a huge win for the environmental movement. Ardern once described climate change as the "nuclear free moment" for her generation. And now, like David Lange banned nuclear ships from our waters, she has drawn a line in the sand.

Wow! That is huge! So no more drilling?

Er, no, actually, actual extraction of oil and gas will continue.

Okay, but still, no new rigs going into the sea, that's pretty great.

Actually, again, no, existing permits are unaffected by this announcement. There are 22 permits for offshore oil and gas exploration that could still go ahead.

Huh. Well at least it's nationwide. New Zealand is taking a stand!

Yeah, ah, actually you can still apply for exploration permits in Taranaki for a few more years. And land-based oil and gas extrac....

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