9 Jun 2012

NZ image at risk - Greens

11:56 am on 9 June 2012

The Government is accused of putting New Zealand's green image at risk by calling tenders for 23 oil and gas exploration permits - a number of which allow for deep sea drilling.

The blocks cover about 40,00 square km of New Zealand waters.

The Green Party says the Government has failed to consult widely with the public about the tenders.

Energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes says two of the permits require the holder to drill an exploratory well at depths of more than 1000 metres - risking an environmental disaster if there was a spill.

The tender process finishes in November and successful applicants will have five years to start drilling.

Energy Minister Phil Heatley says there are enough checks in place to ensure no environmental disasters.