The oil and gas industry head says he did not know of the Government's plans to issue no new permits for exploration of offshore oil and gas fields.

"The press release is the first we've seen of this," Cameron Madgwick, chief executive of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ), told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking this morning.

"It's deeply disappointing. There was absolutely no consultation with the industry… Indeed, the Labour Party, in its energy policy specifically talks about offshore energy exploration."

At a press conference this morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern strongly countered claims the industry had been blindsided, saying that Labour Party's position on the future of oil and gas was clearly indicated in its manifesto and that this move shouldn't have come as a surprise.


However, Madgwick says this specific issue was not raised in discussions between PEPANZ and the Government.

"We speak to various ministers over a period of time, but this has not been in the contemplation of the kinds of things they've been talking about," Madgwick said.

Madgwick warned that this move was particularly worrying given that his estimates show that the New Zealand gas supply was likely to run out within the next "10 or 11 years".

"This will have a direct impact on mums and dads who will likely faced increased prices for fuel," he said.

"The process of exploring for oil and gas is a very long-term one and not all existing licences will ultimately be successful. That's why we have to continue to look."

Madgwick also questioned the likelihood of the Government's policy having the desired impact on climate change.

"We're keen to keep talking to the Government to make sure they have a strong understanding of this, because it will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which appears to be the motivation. In fact, it could even make it worse."

Madgwick's comments follow on from an article he recently wrote for The Spinoff, in which he said that a reduction in local oil and gas production would simply be picked up in another country, which may not have New Zealand's commitment to a greener future.


"New Zealand is blessed with natural gas which has half the emissions of coal; oil produced here also has a lower emissions footprint than oil produced overseas," he said in the article.

"By way of illustration, every 12 days China builds another coal-fired power plant. If we could get them to run on natural gas instead [ideally supplied by New Zealand] that would help lower the world's emissions."

Madgwick argues the Government should take a global view at reducing climate change emissions rather than focusing exclusively on New Zealand's contribution.