Someone needed to rip the scab off because this day was always coming for the fossil fuel industry.

The question was would it be swallowed up by clean energy? Would it run out? Would it burn with the planet?

Or would it be a conscious decision?

The Government wants to make it the latter with its ban on offshore oil and gas exploration.


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be heaped with plaudits and criticism in equal measure.

But the charge of economic vandalism levelled at this decision is either scaremongering or a genuine reaction to the unknown.

Major industries have fallen in quicker time and the economy has carried on its merry way.

Equally though, the concerns of the industry and its people shouldn't be scoffed at.

People who rely on the industry are genuinely anxious about their future which is why the work to transition needs to start now.

There will always be an energy industry and perhaps a legacy of fossil fuel extraction is that provinces like Taranaki have the personnel and expertise to create a booming clean energy industry in place of oil and gas.

This policy might be the hardest thing this Government will ever have to sell so it needs to support and lead the industry through change.

Of course, the ban could always be reversed which is what National Party leader Simon Bridges said it will do if elected.


But time will pass, it will become more accepted, things will be okay and with that a return to fossil fuel exploration will start to look backward thinking.

Ardern famously called climate change the "nuclear-free moment" of her generation.

There's a long way to go to prove that.

But it may be that we look back on this ban the way we look back at our nuclear free stance, or being first to give women the vote, or the 1981 Springbok tour protests.

Divisive at the time but we ripped the scab off and they're now a source of pride.