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Networks of influence: (dis)Advantage NZ

Written By: - Date published: 9:33 am, April 30th, 2013 - 20 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, climate change, Conservation, energy, john key, Metiria Turei, overseas investment, privatisation, slippery, spin, sustainability - Tags:

An Advantage New Zealand conference is happening at the moment at John Key’s favourite conference centre (SkyCity), with major players in the oil and gas industries sharing ideas, and strategies.  They are promoting and backing each others’ profit-making enterprises, no matter how destructive to our environment and lives. And as part of the way they work to give themselves public legitimacy, they wine, dine and play golf in expensive surroundings.

With the comprehensive website and cost of the conference and it’s affiliated activities, it’s clear these people back themselves as major players.  It certainly indicates a different kind of networks from the kind I know.  The conferences I have been to cost nowhere near as much, as this $2000 full delegate deal: a and that’s on top of airfares for overseas delegates and accommodation at SkyCity.  these are people with money to burn!  And they’ll use it to burn our environment too.

Networking is a favoured strategy of many – nothing unusual there.  However, for  John Key’s networks of influence are those through which he can connect with the wealthy and powerful in the international corporate worlds.  He so far has been seen to favour significant players in finance, entertainment, movie, and big commerce-favouring intellectual property.

The lineup of speakers for the conference includes many significant international players in the oil and gas industries. (See also the lineup of sponsors).  They are arguing for the economic gains, and financial safety of their extractive activities.   The conference website attempts to make video stars of participants with online videos.  Good luck with the mediocre star material of Simon Bridges.

As many know, a lot of the significance of such conferences is in the networking over the refreshment breaks, dinners, and associated activities.  The “Social Programme” began on Sunday with a round of golf at the Gulf Harbour Golf Club (cost $150, event sponsored by Greymouth Petroleum) – “golf attire” required, unlike the rest of the social activities that require “business attire”.

This is the sort of occasion that John Key was preparing himself for when he learned to play golf at 10 years old. The promo for the golf day says:

  • Enjoy the surrounds of Auckland harbour as you take the scenic boat ride  and mingle with fellow players over morning tea

  • Challenge your industry colleagues to an 18 hole round of golf

Interesting that they promote the enjoyment of Auckland’s outdoor, harbour environment, while planning to undermine it. Interesting also that the Gala Dinner requires “business attire/cocktail dress”.  Is this because the rest of the conference is largely attended by (white) males?  It certainly looks like that from the speaker line-up and videos.

John Key met Ian Fletcher on 12 March 2010 for breakfast at the Hyatt regency, after Fletcher attended an “Open Business Conference”  on 10 and 11 March at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Auckland.  This was the year before Key shoulder-tapped Fletcher for the job as boss of the GCSB.  I wonder if Key will be sounding out any delegates for future jobs, while at the Advantage NZ conference?

There’s already a load of propaganda for the destructive oil and gas industries being generated by or in association with the Advantage NZ conference, and appearing in the MSM.  Yesterday RNZ reported:

The Government is to offer up large sections of on and offshore New Zealand for oil and gas exploration. …

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges announced the offer at the Advantage Petroleum Conference in Auckland on Monday.

Mr Bridges said the Government’s plan represents a sensible development of the country’s resources, but it must be done is a safe way.

He said the exploration offer has the potential to provide a solid investment for future generations of New Zealanders.

Prime Minister John Key told the conference the Government supports plans to significantly expand oil and gas exploration and believes the industry could be a game-changer for New Zealand.

This is just one of many MSM reports in the last couple of days, promoting the planned exploration for oil and gas as being safe and potentially lucrative.

Yesterday, the Green Party warned, that the government is endangering Auckland’s west coast beaches:

The Green Party is condemning the Government for announcing the tender process today for new permits to conduct exploratory deep sea drilling in New Zealand waters off the west coast of the North Island and the East Coast of the South Island. Much of the area is in deep water.

“The Government is putting the economic interests of the oil companies over the environmental values of the people of New Zealand,” said Mrs Turei.

Today Labour’s Moana Mackey and Greenpeace’s Steve Abel expressed their opposition to the government’s dangerous and ill-conceived plans. It is clear that Key is leading his government strongly in a massive plan to exploit and endanger NZ’s resources and environment for the benefit of multinational corporations. And while he’s doing it, Key is continuing to work his dubious 1%er, networks of influence.

20 comments on “Networks of influence: (dis)Advantage NZ”

  1. Jenny Kirk 1

    Yes – and while they’re all networking and playing golf, in the background are beavers busily dismantling the Resource Management Act into something which will be a travesty of the original, and will have economic development at the forefront instead of protection of the environment.

    The NAct Govt has already put out a couple of discussion documents on RM reform and water regs and had a hurried, and little-advertised “consultation” meetings/hui at various town centres, telling people there was a need to get this legislation through urgently. Something to (not) wait for !

  2. BM 2

    Labour’s energy spokesperson Moana Mackey said the dangers of the exploratory work haven’t been addressed, and should be halted until it can be done safely.
    She said the Government should not be relying on royalties from oil and gas exploration to boost the economy and tougher regulation is needed.

    So no drilling for oil is labors position, just more taxes.Fantastic.

    If Moana Mackey is so worried maybe she should take a trip up to the North sea oil fields
    and see how the Brits and Scandinavians do it.
    There’s nothing new about off shore drilling.

    • karol 2.1

      Patrick Reynolds on The Auckland Transport Blog has a very good post on what NZ can learn from North Sea Oil. Part of the North Sea problem is that Thatcher squandered the economic benefits it provided. She did what “neoliberal” governments tend to do: stripped the resource for short term gain. Reynolds says:

      With North Sea production now increasingly in the rear view mirror, it looks very much like a wasted opportunity, most of it sold, after all, at around $10-15 a barrel. Nothing like an unrestrained free market to efficiently strip a resource as quickly as possible [again; compare and contrast to the more controlled exploitation by the other beneficiaries of this same resource]. So whenever I read praise of Thatcher’s or Blair and Brown’s financial management with no mention of the North Sea largess I find it hard to take seriously.

      Reynolds concludes form the North Sea evidence, and NZ’s context, that NZ would be better to wean itself off oil dependency.

      With urgency. To work towards a situation where the quantities we are either producing or importing are used in the most value-added and vital parts of the economy and not simply squandered on more inefficient and wasteful uses. …

      We are, unlike the UK, in a very much better position with regards to electricity generation, and there is still a great deal that can be done to improve from the current 80% renewable figure. 100% renewable generation is an important task; it certainly would be better to not be burning gas and coal to make electricity. [Although they are making some good moves in the UK now too].

      • BM 2.1.1

        The Auckland Transport Blog seems to be a NZ version of sites such as peak oil.com and the oil drum.

        The only way to wean NZ off oil is if we went nuclear, but that isn’t going to happen so oil is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

        • David 2.1.1.1

          Yeah mate, because nuclear powered cars and trucks is very realistic. As well as that, the North Sea isn’t deep water drilling, I am prepared to be corrected on that by all and sundry, I’m no expert, but provided they are the people commenting here who have two brain cells to rub together.

          P.S Should I add a sarcasm tag for my first sentence, or do you think BM can figure it out himself?

        • felix 2.1.1.2

          “The Auckland Transport Blog seems to be a NZ version of sites such as peak oil.com and the oil drum.”

          It’s actually – surprise – a blog about transport issues facing Auckland, and a very well informed one at that.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.3

          The only way to wean NZ off oil is if we went nuclear,

          The amount of fossil fuel energy needed to build the nuclear power plant, supply it with nuclear fuel rods, and finally decomission the plan at the end of its operating life, is simply HUGE.

      • Rich the other 2.1.2

        Karol ,
        What’s happened, wasn’t it the greens who were embracing advantage nz just a few weeks ago?

        You quote Reynolds ,he is misguided.
        Recently, thank’s to fracking , Britain discovered vast gas reserves under Blackpool (I think that’s the right city) enough to supply Britain for another 50 years.

        It’s a Good job they sold the north sea gas and took the benefit’s or they would have had a massive oversupply and not had any of the benefits.

        • karol 2.1.2.1

          The Green’s have welcomed Pure Advantage reports in the past, which says they aim for a green economy, as opposed to the Key government approach of exploiting the environment for corporate profit.

          As I understand it, “Advantage NZ” is the title of the conference, not a group.

          There are many reports on the dangers of Fracking, and while the UK government promotes it, others in the UK are opposed.

          • Wayne 2.1.2.1.1

            Karol, you are ignoring the report by the Environment Commissioner on fracking in NZ

            • karol 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Wayne, no I’m not. The environment Commissioners Report doesn’t give a green light to fracking, as argued by Gareth Hughes – who has spent a lot of time travelling around NZ fracking sites.

              The PCE’s report does not say that fracking in New Zealand is safe; the report concludes that fracking companies do not have a ‘social license’ to operate and that the regulation is fragmented and light-handed. The PCE has identified numerous ways in which fracking can cause environmental harm, and said, “the potential for important aquifers to be contaminated as a result of fracking is very real.” The report’s key recommendation is fracking can be effectively managed if best practice is enforced through regulation, but said at this stage she can’t be confident that operational best practices are actually being implemented and enforced in New Zealand.

              I believe these are good arguments for a halt until better rules are enacted especially given the large expansion of fracking planned for New Zealand.

    • framu 2.2

      “So no drilling for oil is labors position”

      umm . do you not even read the bits you quote?

      it says – stop and figure out the risks properly and dont put all your economic eggs in one basket

      WTF is going inside you head?

      • BM 2.2.1

        No it doesn’t
        It means lets put in place impossible conditions that oil companies have to adhere to, making exploration and drilling uneconomic.
        Labor lacks the cojones to come out and say “we wont allow off shore drilling” so they set up obstacles to halt it that way.
        Sneaky socialist weasels.

        • felix 2.2.1.1

          What you call obstacles are what other people call acceptable standards.

          Just a matter of priorities really.

          • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1.1

            Labour standards, unions, health and safety, environmental safeguards, minimum wage and other inconvenient “obstacles” to the capitalist pillage of our country.

    • Murray Olsen 2.3

      1. Where did Moana Mackey mention taxes?
      2. There’s plenty new about drilling at the depths they propose here. Petrobras presently has the best technology for deep work, but our seas are deeper, and Petrobras has a shocking environmental and safety record.
      3. Norway kept control of its oil and built a sovereign wealth fund.
      4. There are many rescue and rehabilitation vessels near the North Sea for when something goes wrong. There are none in Aotearoa, all we have is assurances from proven liars and ethical dwarves.
      5. I want to paint Shell Survey Vessel on the side of my car and run you down. Can you ask Simmy if he’ll change the law for me like he did for those nice whale killing ships?

  3. Jane 3

    Part of me thinks it’s worth going and finding out, it will probably turnout there is nothing there anyway and we can all just stop worrying about it.

    Not sure how I’d feel if it turned out to be truely enormous and worth tens of trillions, free house, car, boat and personal train stops for all!

    • muzza 3.1

      No chance of a free anything, Jane – any royalties earned, will be heading directly back to the same people who own the mining companies, to service the growing interest requirements of NZs out of control public debt!

      • framu 3.1.1

        ” any royalties earned” – after the product is sold at a loss to off shore parent company and the real profit earned outside NZ

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    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm
    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Prisoner voting disqualification and the Bill of Rights Act
    In 2010, National rammed the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill through Parliament. Paul Quinn’s Member’s Bill existed because Paul Quinn thought anyone who’d been imprisoned was a serious offender, and serious offenders had ‘forfeited’ their right to vote.… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    3 days ago
  • Mainfreight ‘appalled’ by Government’s rail madness
    The Government has been given a serve by New Zealand-based international trucking and logistics firm Mainfreight which says it lacks a national transport strategy, and has treated rail badly, Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The company has told shareholders it… ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s Health and Safety Reform Bill: less safety and fewer rights at...
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is embarking on a campaign to fight the changes that weaken the Health and Safety Reform bill. As part of the campaign the CTU has organised vigils with the display of 291 crosses… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    3 days ago
  • All options need to be put on meat sector table
    Farmers must be given every assurance that all potential risks have been considered before Silver Fern Farms opens its door to foreign equity, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The ongoing saga involving the meat sector and amalgamation has… ...
    4 days ago
  • Flag the referendum if 50% or more don’t vote
    Labour has moved to have the second flag referendum canned if the first attracts fewer than half the eligible number of voters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “John Key has already wasted more than $8 million on his vanity project… ...
    4 days ago
  • 90,000 cars reclassified in botched ACC ratings
    New figures obtained by Labour show the ACC Minister’s botched motor vehicle levy system has resulted in 90,000 vehicles having to be reclassified so far – at a cost of $6 million, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Nikki Kaye’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Brutal health cuts confirmed, crucial services suffer
    Chronic under-funding by National has seen the health budget slashed by $1.7 billion in just five years, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A report by Infometrics, commissioned by Labour, shows health funding has been cut in four of the… ...
    4 days ago
  • Meth ring under Serco’s nose
    The news that two Serco inmates have been arrested for helping to run a methamphetamine ring from prison should be the final straw and see their contract cancelled, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “National has stood by Serco despite… ...
    5 days ago
  • Ministers failing women and their own targets
    New figures showing just five Ministers have met the Government’s own reduced targets for appointing women to state sector boards is evidence National is failing Kiwi women, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The Ministry for Women’s 2015 Gender… ...
    5 days ago
  • Charges up for some as funding up for grabs
    A proposal being considered by the Government would see some people having to pay more for health care and district health boards forced to fight amongst themselves to fund regional health services, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Information leaked… ...
    5 days ago
  • Stop experimenting on kids
    The trouble with the Charter school model is that it is a publicly funded experiment on children. The National Government has consistently put its desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    6 days ago
  • Bank puts the squeeze on mid Canterbury farmers
    News that an unnamed bank in Ashburton has put a receiver on notice over financially vulnerable farmers will send a chill through rural New Zealand, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government needs to work with  New Zealand’s banks… ...
    6 days ago
  • Key is trading away New Zealand land and homes
    John Key yesterday admitted what National dishonestly refused to confirm in Parliament last week – he is trading away New Zealand’s right to control who buys our homes and land, says Opposition leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister must now… ...
    6 days ago
  • Razor gang takes scalpel to health
    Plans by the Government to take a scalpel to democratically elected health boards are deceitful and underhand, coming just months after an election during which they were never signalled, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Leaked documents reveals a radical… ...
    6 days ago
  • Spin lines show a department in chaos
    Corrections Spin Doctors sending their place holder lines to journalists instead of responding to serious allegations shows the scale of chaos at the department over the Serco scandal, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “As more and more serious allegations… ...
    1 week ago
  • Court ruling shows law should never have been passed
    A High Court ruling that a law banning prisoners from voting is inconsistent with a properly functioning democracy should be a wake-up call for the Government, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. In an unprecedented ruling Justice Paul Heath has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Judicial Review Gamble Pays Off for Problem Gambling Foundation
    Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Environmental Protection Agency appoints GE advocate as new CEO
    This week, the Environmental Protection Authority Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament. The Bill puts protection of the environment into the core purpose of the Environmental Protection Authority. This month, Dr Allan Freeth, the former Chief Executive of… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform
    The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford. The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet… ...
    1 week ago
  • Arbitrary sanctions hit children hardest
    Increasing numbers of single parents are being penalised under a regime that is overly focussed on sanctions rather than getting more people into work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Hekia just won’t face the facts
    Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education… ...
    1 week ago
  • No more silent witnesses
    Yesterday I attended the launch of a new initiative developed by and for Asian, Middle eastern and African youth to support young people to name and get support if there is domestic violence at home. The impact on children of… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister must take responsibility for problem gambling debacle
    The Government’s handling of the Problem Gambling Foundation’s axing in a cost-cutting exercise has been ham-fisted and harmful to some of the most vulnerable people in society, Associate Health Labour spokesperson David Clark says.“Today’s court ruling overturning the axing of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty
    The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. ...
    1 week ago
  • Coleman can’t ignore latest warnings
    Resident doctors have advised that a severe staffing shortage at North Shore Hospital is putting patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “They say a mismatch between staffing levels and patient workloads at North Shore has… ...
    1 week ago
  • ACC must remove barriers to appeals
    The Government must prioritise removing barriers to justice for ACC claimants following a damning report by Acclaim Otago, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “ACC Minister Nikki Kaye must urgently scrap her flawed plan to remove claimant’s right to redress… ...
    1 week ago
  • Six months’ paid parental leave back on the agenda
    Six months’ paid parental leave is back on the agenda and a step closer to reality for Kiwi parents after Labour’s new Member’s Bill was pulled from today’s ballot, the Bill’s sponsor and Labour MP Sue Moroney says. “My Bill… ...
    1 week ago
  • Sole parents at risk of having no income
    New requirements for sole parents to undertake a reapplication process after a year is likely to mean a large number will face benefit cancellations, but not because they have obtained work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Increasing numbers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Juking the Welfare Stats Again
    Last week the government’s major initiative to combat child poverty (a paltry $25 increase) was exposed for what it is, a lie. The Government, through the Budget this year, claims to be engaging in the child poverty debate, but instead,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • OCR rate cut a result of flagging economy
    The Reserve Bank's decision to cut the Official Cash Rate to 3 per cent shows there is no encore for the so-called 'rock star' economy, says Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.   "Today's interest rate cut comes off the back… ...
    1 week ago
  • Reboot to an innovation economy, an Internet economy and a clean economy
    In my short 33 years on this planet we’ve seen phenomenal technological, economic and social change, and it’s realistic to expect the next 33 will see even more, even faster change. You can see it in the non-descript warehouse near… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • Bill that puts the environment into the EPA passes first hurdle
    A Bill that puts the environment squarely into legislation governing the Environmental Protection Authority passed its first reading today, says Meka Whaitiri.  “I introduced this member’s bill as the current law doesn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s KiwiSaver deception exposed
    KiwiSaver statistics released today expose John Key's claim that the cutting of the kickstart payment "will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver” to be duplicitous, says Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “Official… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to protect contractors
    All New Zealanders should be treated fairly at work. Currently, the law allows non-employment relationships to be used to get around the minimum wage. This is unfair, says Labour MP David Parker. “The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill, a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill raises bar to protect Kiwi farmland
    The Government’s rubber-stamping of every one of the nearly 400 applications from overseas investors to buy New Zealand farm land over the last three years proves tougher laws are needed, Labour MP Phil Goff says. “In the last term of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Costly flag referendum should be dumped
    John Key must ditch the flag referendum before any more taxpayer money is wasted, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Millions of dollars could be saved if the Prime Minister called a halt to this hugely expensive, and highly unpopular, vanity… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats letting Serco off scot free
    Government members have prevented Parliament’s Law and Order select committee from getting answers out of a senior Serco director about the fight clubs being run at Mt Eden prisons, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “At today’s Law and Order… ...
    2 weeks ago

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