Southland District Council has granted Greymouth Petroleum Ltd resource consent to explore for petroleum and drill an exploratory well on a site at Horseshoe Bay Road on Stewart Island.
The resource consent was non-notified.
Green Party mining spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said today Stewart Island deserved protection from oil exploration.
"The National Government is failing to protect our special places by allowing mineral surveys in World Heritage Areas and oil exploration on Rakiura/Stewart Island which is known for its conservation values," said Ms Delahunty.
"Development of areas known for their natural beauty, such as Rakiura/Stewart Island, is a threat to our economically valuable clean, green image."
Ms Delahunty also objected to the lack of public input into the consent, which was granted non-notified.
"Not notifying consent applications denies the extensive public interest in petroleum development applications."
"The public has the right to have a say before councils give companies the go ahead for any oil and gas exploration activities."
Yesterday Gisborne District Council granted permission for an overseas company to take the first steps towards oil and gas production on the East Coast without public input.