What was the value of oil exports in the 2008 calendar year?
I am pleased to advise the House that the value of New Zealand’s oil exports in the 2008 calendar year was NZ$2.8 billion. In 2008 oil was New Zealand’s third-highest export earner, ranking behind dairy and meat exports only. In the last 12 months the Government has received more than $900 million in petroleum royalties and taxes. These numbers prove that it is worth New Zealand pursuing the full capacity that its offshore basins may contain.
What initiatives does the Government have planned to stimulate further oil and gas exploration in New Zealand waters?
The Government has a number of initiatives planned. I am pleased to inform the House that this coming summer will see the largest exploration activity occurring in New Zealand during any drilling season to date. In fact, New Zealand is ranked as one of the top 10 most prospective countries in the world. The Government has a number of initiatives planned to keep up the momentum. The Raukūmara and Northland basins are currently open for exploration permits. Applications for those new blocks offers are considerable. Further, there will be a new blocks offer in the Reinga basin, which will open at the end of this year. Over the summer, new seismic data will be collected, thanks to the appropriation in Budget 2009 of some $20 million over the next 3 years. And, of course, the Government is continuing the 183-day tax exemption rules for explorers in New Zealand.