Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Oil executives treated to expensive wine tasting

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges, left, with Anadarko vice president of Exploration Frank Patterson. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges, left, with Anadarko vice president of Exploration Frank Patterson. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Oil industry executives were treated to $7200 on wine tasting alone during a taxpayer-funded junket to New Zealand, the Green Party says.

Further details about the $237,000 New Zealand Oil and Gas Summit in 2011 were released today.

Eleven oil executives attended the summit, which lasted four days and included yachting, fine dining, luxury accommodation and corporate boxes at the Rugby World Cup.

The Greens said Government had confirmed that a wine tasting trip to Palliser Estate in Martinborough, which included a catered lunch by chef Ruth Pretty, cost $7200.

Accommodation for the executives at the Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington cost nearly $10,000 a night.

The promotional tour also included meals at prestigious restaurants Logan Brown and Martin Bosley.

The oil representatives paid for their own flights, and were given a presentation on New Zealand's regulatory regime while they were here.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said National appeared to have a "bottomless slush-fund" for "big oil".

He said Energy Minister Simon Bridges was giving oil industry executives first class treatment while "our precious environment gets third class treatment".

Energy Minister Simon Bridges has described the spending as an investment because royalties from oil profits went into public infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.

Two of the hosted companies - Norway's Statoil and Australia's Woodside - have sought and been granted exploration permits in New Zealand.

Mr Bridges has confirmed that no jobs have been created as a result of these exploration permits, but said the companies planned to invest millions in this country.

He also said the budget for the summit was "very modest".

Dr Norman responded: "The extend of National's indulgence shows just how out of touch it is with ordinary people.

"It's offensive to New Zealand families struggling to get by for their money to be used on yachting and wine tasting for foreign oil executives."

Greens say they would ban deep sea oil drilling and raise oil industry royalties if elected.

- NZ Herald

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