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Government pinpoints land for oil and gas exploration

The government has identified 25 blocks of land to target for oil exploration in the Waikato, Taranaki, Tasman, West Coast and Southland.

The government has identified 25 blocks of land to target for oil exploration in the Waikato, Taranaki, Tasman, West Coast and Southland.

The proposed blocks cover 40,285 square km of offshore seabed and 5,704 square km of land.

The Ministry of Economic Development is consulting iwi and local government in the areas where the proposed blocks are.

Companies from New Zealand and abroad will then be invited to tender for petroleum exploration permits as part of a competitive bidding process.

But it's an outdated economic strategy, according to the Green Party, which says the environmental risks posed by oil and gas exploration outweigh potential royalties or taxes.

Energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said the government was ignoring New Zealand's potential to lead the world in renewable energy generation.

"This government is deeply in denial about climate change. They are happy to get their hands on the short-term profits and leave the costly mess for future generations to deal with."

A report last year estimated New Zealand could earn up to $12.7 billion in royalties if current oil exploration rates were to double.