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Representatives of 10 permit winners with Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges, third from right in front

New Zealand is expanding its search for oil and gas with ten more exploration permits issued Thursday, despite protests from Greenpeace and the Green Party.

The government issued five onshore permits across Taranaki and the East Coast and five offshore permits across the Reinga-Northland, Taranaki and Great South-Canterbury Basins.

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said collectively the permits represent about $62 million in committed expenditure on initial exploration, according to TVNZ.

“Today’s announcement comes as we kick off one of the country’s largest oil and gas exploration seasons, with 13 wells being drilled offshore and around 30 onshore,” Bridges said.

“I believe most New Zealanders are in favour of what we are doing,” Bridges said.

But Greenpeace campaigner Steve Able said New Zealand is not prepared for drilling on such a scale, TVNZ said.

Permits were awarded to:

– Statoil Lambda Netherlands BV (new): One offshore Reinga-Northland permit

– Woodside Energy Holdings (new) and New Zealand Oil & Gas: Two offshore permits, Taranaki and Great South Basin South-Canterbury

– Mont D’Or (new): One onshore East Coast permit

– New Zealand Oil & Gas: One offshore Great South Basin South-Canterbury permit

– Octanex NZ: One offshore Taranaki permit

– AWE NZ & Mitsui: One onshore Taranaki permit

– TAG Oil NZ: One onshore Taranaki permit

– Eastern Petroleum & East West Petroleum: One onshore East Coast permit

– Petrochem: One onshore Taranaki permit