National Party leader Simon Bridges says the government's move to halt the issuing of new permits for oil and gas exploration is a "disaster for the regions".
Speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast today, Mr Bridges called the new policy "environmentally adverse".
"There will be job losses from this. There's a bunch of companies that have been exploring, they can't do that anymore. It sends a message offshore. It sends a shiver down businesses' spine here in New Zealand."
When asked by Breakfast host Jack Tame if it instead sent a message of a decrease in carbon emissions, Mr Bridges said, "actually this perversely has as much chance as increasing emissions".
"You've got a big industry in the North Island that runs on gas. There aren't commercially viable alternatives. When that gas runs out, it'll be cold."
He said he accepted "in theory" transition over time from oil and gas, "but I don't think this was a transition, this was a no consultation, this is what we're doing".
The announcement to end new exploration permits happened last week, with this year's permits only limited to onshore acreage in Taranaki.