The parliament of New Zealand has voted to ban new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration, in an effort to help tackle climate change.
The Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Act passed its third reading in Parliament on Wednesday with 63 votes in favour and 55 against, the New Zealand Herald reports.
"New Zealanders want to see a future for their country where we take action on climate change" said minister of energy and resources Megan Woods at the third reading.
"We have a long-term economic plan for our country and we have the courage to look beyond the three-year political cycle and plan for the next 10, 20, 30 and 40 years."
The bill will preserve existing exploration permits – an area that covers around 100,000 square kilometres.
"Those permit holders will have the same rights and privileges that they do before this legislation comes into force," added Woods.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's coalition government first set the ban's wheels in motion in April.
"The whole world is going in this direction," Ardern said at the time.
"We all signed up to the Paris agreement that said we're moving towards carbon-neutrality, and now we need to act on it.
"Nothing will change overnight. These existing permits have very long lead times. We'll be seeing oil and gas exploration for a number of years to come. And the jobs –the four-and-a-half thousand jobs in this industry –will continue too.
"But we're putting a line in the sand and saying, now it's our job to plan for the future.
"We will make sure we've got that transition plan in place, and what the future of clean, green, carbon-neutral New Zealand looks like."
The government has pledged to power the country's grid with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2035 and aims to become carbon neutral by 2050.
A government committee for the environment received more than 7,000 submissions on the bill, with around 85 percent in support of it or saying that it did not go far enough to tackle climate change.
The centre-right National Party opposed the bill and has pledged to reverse the ban if back in government.
The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) also spoke against the legislation.
"The people most affected by this decision haven't been listened to and now face real uncertainty," says PEPANZ CEO Cameron Madgwick.
"We need natural gas as a transition fuel towards a lower carbon economy.
“Turning off the tap when we have nothing concrete to replace it with is dangerous and irresponsible."