James Cameron adds star power as PM announces $50 million to develop clean energy in Taranaki

Hollywood movie director James Cameron added some star power as a $50 million fund was unveiled to develop clean energy in Taranaki.

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The Prime Minister made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today to help the region move away from oil and gas.

Cameron forecast that chaos is on the way, but this time not a blockbuster, a real life prediction of climate change disaster.  

"It will be a ruthless future, it will be the end of democracy, it will be the end of peace," the film director said.

It's a forecast the Government is trying to alter. 

"The national new energy development centre will help create new businesses and job opportunities in Taranaki while helping New Zealand move towards clean affordable, renewable energy and away from fossil fuels," Ms Ardern said.

The $27 million centre will research offshore wind, solar batteries and hydrogen fuel possibilities.

Ben Gerritsen of First Gas said it's a great opportunity for the company "to get physically involved in the centre, get our staff in that environment".

National MP for New Plymouth Jonathan Young said he has visited a few such centres around the world.

"They are really great places with a lot of innovation and people coming together with some good ideas."

There's $20 million more for science and research. 

New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom said the Prime Minister has brought her A team to Taranaki, with five ministers coming over the next two days. 

"And she's brought her cheque book.". 

But some in Taranaki, who live alongside the drilling and fracking, are unhappy fossil fuels are still being extracted. 

"There is nothing clean about gas," said one local resident.

Sarah Roberts of Taranaki Energy Watch said: "There is no planet B, and we have to be acting as if our lives are depending on it."

Ms Ardern said there were people "on both sides" who were unhappy about the decision.

"But ultimately it was all about saying in the next 30 years we need to do things differently." 

Environmentalists James and Suzy Cameron say another way to reduce emission is adopt a plant-based diet - something some Kiwis may find hard to stomach. 

"It's good for the planet, it's good for your health, it's good for the economy. It's a win, win, win," Ms Cameron said.

Ms Ardern quipped: "I'm from the Waikato. I don't know that I'd be allowed to go home if I ever became vegan. And I love cheese."

James Cameron said: "Where I have confidence is in the human spirit and ability to adapt."