The government has put up 2200 sq km of Taranaki land for potential oil and gas drilling in the first block offer since imposing tight restrictions on the sector last year.

The long-awaited document out today outlines strict new rules over how successful bidders must engage with iwi and it was launched without the fanfare from the Beehive that surrounded block offers under the last National government.

Last April the government stunned the oil and gas sector by banning all new offshore exploration and confining new onshore work to Taranaki instead of opening up vast basins off the coast twice the size of the land mass which has happened in the past.

In what was a big win for the Greens, the coalition said it was part of what it said was a plan to move towards a carbon neutral future in 30 years time, in contrast to the National led-government's hope of turning this country into the ''Norway of the South Pacific'' with big oil and gas royalty revenue fueling its economic programme.

National today described the block offer as ''token.''


Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment agency NZ Petroleum and Minerals is running the offer and says its launch follows consultation with iwi and hapū .

Engagement with iwi is required for any activity within 200m of places including sacred sites, rivers and waterways of cultural significance and regionally significant surf breaks.

"The new condition explicitly requires permit holders to engage with iwi on an ongoing basis, with specific early engagement requirements in relation to activities to be undertaken within 200 metres of areas of significance to iwi," said Ilana Miller, national manager, Petroleum and Minerals.

Last November the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Act 2018 gave effect to the Government's April announcement.

The change in the law also prohibits access to conservation land, as part of the Block Offer process, except for ''minimum impact'' activities.

The much tighter conditions don't satisfy Greenpeace, however, which told the Herald it wants a complete end to fossil fuel exploration on land and sea and existing permits revoked.

"The world can't afford to burn even half of the fossil fuel reserves we already know about without reaching a climate tipping point.

Allowing companies to search for new oil is robbing today's young people of a chance at a decent future,'' said Amanda Larsson, a Greenpeace climate campaigner.

She said if the government was responding to the latest scientific evidence on climate change it would be go much further than banning new offshore oil and gas permits but have a plan to phase out importing of petrol and diesel vehicles, and instead invest heavily in electric transport and renewable energy.


But industry group, Petroleum Exploration and Production NZ is diplomatic. It says it was ''pleasing'' to see the block offer going ahead.

''It remains very important for New Zealand to explore for more gas as about 400,000 businesses and households use either natural gas or LPG to for heat, cooking and industrial purposes. It's also very important to our electricity system, helping keep prices down when other sources are scarce.''

The government last year said the time for submissions was limited in order to put the 2018 block offer out but did concede it wouldn't be out during the same calendar year.

Jonathan Young, National's energy and resources spokesman said the block offer was ''token'' given the vast majority of New Zealand's territory was now closed for business.

Comment has been sought from energy and resources minister Megan Woods.

Applications for acerage close on August 28.

In the 12 months to June 30 last year royalties paid to the Government from minerals, was $218m, up from $177m the year before but down on a decade earlier when high oil production and prices pushed them up to $557m.

During a peak of the exploration activity between 2011 to 2015 companies have invested $7.7 billion in oil and gas exploration and production in New Zealand.

Next week speakers including film maker James Cameron and former Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett will be among speakers at the government-run Just Transition Summit in New Plymouth.