| Latest Political News | Sunday April 28 2013 7:06
Energy Minister Simon Bridges is talking up the benefits of petroleum exploration.
A big conference on the search for oil and gas gets underway in Auckland today, looking at the opportunities now and in the future.
The industry is already worth $800 million a year in royalties and taxes.
Mr Bridges will be speaking at the event, and says exploration is creating good job opportunities for thousands of New Zealanders.
"This is a strong industry, and we think that it can get stronger.
"Of course we're committed to doing it sensibly, it has to have very high environmental health and safety practice, and we've made sure that we've got that."
Photo / Getty Images