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Deep sea oil drilling

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 am, January 23rd, 2014 - 90 comments
Categories: climate change, Economy, energy, Environment - Tags:

Piha no oil sea drilling protest-17

The Labour Party is a broad church and its members hold a diversity of views.  For instance Pacifica are amongst the strongest supporters of the party but their christian conservatism can cause tension with some of the more socially progressive policies that other members of the party support.

And the debate on deep sea oil drilling certainly shows that there is a diversity of views on this issue within the party.

For instance recently Shane Jones publicly supported Anadarko’s oil exploration in New Zealand.

He opposed attempts to stop Anadarko from deep sea drilling and said on Te Kaea that the protesters should remember that the company has a statutory right to conduct deep sea oil exploration.

Protesters need to bear in mind we are buying oil out of the Gulf of Mexico and other far-flung places when we should be focusing on making an industry in our own country.”

He also noted that Anadarko was spending a million dollars a day on its programme and said that it was good for New Zealand.

It is not surprising that there are some within the party with these views.  The party was formed from unions whose workers depended on extractive industries for work.  And the EPMU has members who work on the Taranaki Oil Rigs.  There is clearly a tension between the environmental and the industrial wings of the party on the issue.

The party’s policy platform places an emphasis on addressing climate change.  An “all gases all sectors” ETS free from subsidies to greenhouse gas polluters is supported and a transfer to renewable energy over a period of time is advocated for.  In relation to extraction it says the following:

4.16 Resource extraction—While we move away from our dependence on fossil fuels, the extractive industries will continue to be a significant part of the New Zealand economy. These industries deliver construction and manufacturing materials and/or overseas currency vital to our current economic model. Labour is committed to the lowest possible environmental risk from these extractive industries. We will have clear environmental expectations of those engaging in exploration and extraction. Future projects must meet higher standards in emergency response preparedness, liability, and ability to pay if an accident occurs.

4.17 Labour will put in place appropriate legislative provisions to protect the environment, and appropriate regulatory controls for this purpose (including stringent environmental impact statements and ongoing monitoring of sites), backed by adequate and appropriately skilled inspectorate. As part of resource management decision-making, we will consider the appropriate weighting of criteria for extractive resource proposals, including the end use and type of extracted resources, and their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

This position was reaffirmed by David Cunliffe yesterday.  From the Herald:

A Labour-led Government would change laws to strengthen environmental protections around deep sea oil exploration but would work with existing explorers to allow them to meet the new standards, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

Labour’s position on deep sea oil exploration including Texan company Anadarko’s current programmes in the Taranaki and Pegasus basins has at times been inconsistent. Economic development spokesman Shane Jones has extolled the benefits in terms of jobs while other MPs such as Phil Twyford have attended anti Anadarko protests.

This morning, Mr Cunliffe said Labour had always been clear about its position, “which is firstly, we are not opposed in principle to deep sea oil exploration, secondly if it is to proceed it needs to have world’s best practice environment standards, full liability cover and clean up capacity and based on what we’ve currently seen, we’re not yet convinced that those conditions have been met.

Mr Cunliffe said Labour’s view was that New Zealand’s law currently didn’t require world’s best practice in deep sea oil exploration, ”so we will be changing the law so it does and we will expect future consents to meet those standards”.

However, Labour would not immediately halt existing exploration programmes.

“We will work with the industry to make sure existing consents meet those standards.

“If a drilling consent has been issued under the current regulatory framework then under the law it is valid at the time it is issued. If the law and the standards change in future, my expectation would be a migration path or an opportunity for those companies to bring their operations up to those future standards.”

The Greens’ position is here.  I have not seen it enunciated but this morning on Radio New Zealand Russell Norman talked about how the planet already had more than enough discovered oil which if all burned would cause the planet to fry so I presume the Greens preference would be for an immediate moratorium.  I do not know how they will deal with existing permits.

There are going to be issues where Labour and the Greens disagree.  This is inevitable and at one level important.   The Greens are a proudly independent party.

If there is a Labour Green Coalition after this year’s election no doubt resolving a position on this issue will be one of their first tests.


90 comments on “Deep sea oil drilling”

  1. Will@Welly 1

    I see this as wanting to have a bob each way – wanting the royalties, and down the track, wanting best practice. In the interim, Labour has yet to have the discussion around climate change – maybe as the rising tides buffet the Beehive David Cunciffle & co might think that perhaps they should have had that discussion earlier.
    And if there is an oil spill, expect the Minister of Crayfish, Kina and Paua, Shane Jones to lead the wailing for compensation.

    • geoff 1.1

      I kinda agree with Will here. You can’t have two contradictory policies without looking like a fraud. To be fair we haven’t yet had the full policy announcements yet, so when we do they may all fit together into a cohesive, long-term picture.

      • weka 1.1.1

        What’s the contradiction between best practice and royalties? Or did you mean between oil drilling and climate change policies?

        • geoff

          yeah oil drilling and climate change. To my mind, the only way you could have a non-contradictory position was if the proceeds from your oil drilling were used to transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

          • MaxFletcher

            There’s the thing – we need fossils fuels in order to make the transition

            • Colonial Viper

              Exactly. At this stage, it’s the only moral reason to use fossil fuels.

            • geoff

              Yeah but who’s to say there isn’t enough fossil fuel being dug up already to do the transition?
              Why do we have to do it too, Max?

              • weka

                We don’t. And we certainly don’t have to engage in risky extraction in order to transition. But it depends on what you mean by transition. Powerdown or Green tech supported carry on as usual?

                • geoff

                  I suppose, for the western world, transition means moving to a carbon neutral economy while still keeping intact most of the modern conveniences it presently enjoys.

                  Sound reasonable?

                  • weka

                    Ok. Reasonable? Well consider that even were such a transition possible with the oil we have access to now (which it’s not), it would still do nothing to mitigate AGW in a meaningful way. There is no way to have our current lifestyles (2 car households, flat screen tvs, smart phones) and for that to be sustainable. That is a straightout matter of physics.

                    Other people use the term transition to mean powering down from the perpetual growth economy and creating truly sustainable systems. Inherent in this is a large change in how we all live our lives.

                    Here’s a good overview (note she outlines the reason that powerdown is inevitable not a choice).


                    • geoff

                      I was just attempting to define what I think most people would think the word transition means for the western world. Is it really much of a ‘transition’ if there are significant material changes to the western quality of life?

                      The expectation may well be unreasonable, I don’t know, as they say.. predictions are very difficult especially if it’s about the future…

                    • weka

                      The term transition has been predominantly used by the parts of the community who believe we have to power down. Hence the Transition Town movement.

                      “predictions are very difficult especially if it’s about the future…”

                      Except that where people are ‘predicting’ a green tech save for our predicament (eg electric cars, solar panels), it’s not really about predictions, it’s about physics. You can’t get blood out of a stone. Did you read the linked article? We already know there will be a shortage of the rare metals needed for an green tech save. We also know that the EROEI doesn’t work in favour of the green tech save. Hence the transition to powerdown and whether we use oil to do that.

                      Beyond all that, there is no reason to use hard to get oil (eg deep sea drilling) to transition. All that does is push the transition timeframe out further, with considerable risk to the environment.

                    • geoff

                      I did read the article. It has a lot of assertions but little else. That’s not to say that it’s wrong but there are plenty of other people who are optimistic about the technological possibilities of the future.

                      Because there is such a range of opinions about what is possible I’m not about to throw in with any one lot.

                      I’m not super pessimistic about the physics, particularly the energy requirements. Only a small fraction of the solar energy that falls on the earth every day is all that would be required to power even our present, highly inefficient system.

                      I am much more pessimistic about the political problems than the technical ones, as far as transitioning to a carbon neutral economy is concerned.

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                Peak Oil.

                As well drilling for oil AND hydrocarbons.

                Finding large quantities of natural gas will reduce the need to use coal. Carbon emissions reduced dramatically

    • Steve Wrathall 1.2

      What rising tide? There is no evidence that global sea levels are accelerating beyond a non-alarming 3 mm/year
      And yet the usual suspects still breathlessly predict metres of sea level rise this century.

    • Markymark 1.3

      In summary:

      Labours position on deep sea oil drilling is EXACTLY the same as National’s (both want it done, but with best practice, world class safe guards, and appropriate contingency plans.)

      The Greens are opposed to deep sea oil drilling due to concearns over the enviroment.

      Question: After Simon Bridges screw up on Campbell live and other concearns, why is the Labour party now so happy to literally replicate National’s position?

      Another Cunliffe flip flop, it seems.

      • Colonial Viper 1.3.1

        National will SAY that they want world class safeguards, Labour will ENFORCE it. That’s the difference.

      • mickysavage 1.3.2

        Nope it is not the same. There is a discussion on who does best practice and the feeling is that Norway presents the best model. You can bet that if in power there will be significant tightening of the rules.

        Some would prefer an outright ban and I have a lot of sympathy for this view but I am not the Labour Party.

        • Colonial Viper

          You wouldn’t frame it as a ban…you’d frame it as the creation of “NZ strategic energy reserves”, to remain untouched for a period of no less than 10 years while a major transition off fossil fuels was initiated 😉

  2. Puckish Rogue 2

    On this issue Labour are right and the Greens are wrong

    • geoff 2.1

      Come on, you can do better than that. Justification??

      • Puckish Rogue 2.1.1

        Because I agree with Labours position and disagree with the Greens?

        • geoff


          • Paul

            Unable to explain ideas or support arguments with any evidence.
            A good writer at primary school can do better.

            • Puckish Rogue

              I can’t really be arsed to go into detail why drilling and mining are good since the arguements have been debated on this site ad nauseum so in summary more jobs and earnings for the govt = good

              So again Cunliffes right and the Greens are living in la-la land

              • Paul

                Could you link to your comment where you actually explained your ideas with some evidence?
                And without using derogatory language such as ‘lala land.”
                I cannot remember you ever doing anything other that attempting to derail debate or make firebrand comments.

                • Puckish Rogue

                  So by agreeing with Cunliffe I’m attempting to derail debate or make firebrand comments?

    • toad 2.2

      PR, Labour’s policy seems to be all about minimising the risk of a spill, but you can never minimise the risk to zero.

      Labour’s announcement doesn’t seem to address at all what it would do in response to a significant spill. We have only 3 spill response boats the size of dingies, FFS, and only 400 trained regional responders nationwide.

      If we are going to permit deep sea drilling, that issue must be addressed. Either Maritime NZ must be given the capacity to respond to a spill because NZ is so isolated it would take weeks to get response vessels from overseas (hugely expensive, and would result in capital tied up in vessels that could sit idle for years on end) or the oil companies themselves must be required to provide the capacity (including a backup rig) to respond to a spill .

      The latter may be a way of reconciling the Greens’ and Labour’s positions in coalition. If the Greens can negotiate to require environmental regulation and spill response capacity requirements on oil companies that are tough enough (and expensive enough for the oil companies) to be genuine world best practice, very few, if any, deep sea wells are likely to be drilled.

      • marty mars 2.2.1

        yep plus I’d say labour policy is about, “minimising the risk of any ‘middlenz’ backlash – must.get.into.power. – self centred, self absorbed and fake caring about the environment, the children, and this country’s future – guess what labour, this combination of fake and selffish is not attractive, not even to that hump the middle, you covert so much.

      • mickysavage 2.2.2

        Agreed toad.

        Cunliffe did say “if [oil drilling] is to proceed it needs to have world’s best practice environment standards, full liability cover and clean up capacity and based on what we’ve currently seen, we’re not yet convinced that those conditions have been met” so I would interpret this as requiring way more infrastructure than we have right now.

        • Puckish Rogue

          I interpret it as drilling going ahead and if you’re going to have drilling you’ll have mining. Cunliffes moving away from the nutters in the Greens and towards the center which is good for NZ

          • Paul

            And only able to play the man, not the ball…
            Uses insults, doesn’t debate the issue.
            Very tiresome.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    At all stages the New Zealand environment takes all the risks associated with deep drilling and to add insult only miserly amounts of loot (5% apparently) would stay in in New Zealand IF saleable amounts of the black gold is extracted without incident. Of course a major disaster could occur with no economic result at all.

    A conference with a resulting moratorium at least, after the election of a Labour/Green government would be the way to go.

  4. Bearded Git 4

    Labour policy should state clearly that all future applications for drilling (onshore or offshore) will be publicly notified, that is allowing the public and public interest groups to have their say through submissions/evidence at Council level and able to appeal to the Environment Court.

    My experience of the Envirnment Court is that when professional evidence is put forward and subject to cross examination much more stringent conditions result.

    On this subject Labour/Greens need to make it easier for genuine public interest groups to obtain funding to pay for Environment Court appeals.

  5. imo ‘not opposed in principle’ is a great line of nothing. The choices are stark – give gnats and labour your vote and they will keep the exploitation bandwagon rolling (for the benefit of the multinational corporations) oh and we’re supposed to be grateful too ffs – curse both of those houses!!!

    • tinfoilhat 5.1

      Of course that’s the case, however, you will have a plethora of apologists on this site justifying Labour’s position and should labour manage to form a government with a higher percentage of the vote than the Greens we will just have a few terms of National lite.

  6. Chooky 6

    Chooky 5.3
    23 January 2014 at 9:12 am

    (Conversation seems better over here rather than in Open Mike)

    imo….unless New Zealanders take control of oil exploration ( as in Norway) and receive 80% of the profits of the oil , the risks of exploration to NZ coasts and the problems of adding to global warming by fossil fuels …..make it not worth while

    In other words a few piffly jobs for NZers…. in exchange for oil drilling ( and all the dirty environmental risks and social downside are ours ) …..while all the PROFITS go OUT of the country into the hands of multi national oil companies… ( plus the probability of a few backhanders and shares for the compliant )….as is likely under National …… is theft from NZers!

    ….Key’s National oil deals and proposals are pathetic and should not be countenanced

    ….Labour has a lot of work to do to get an acceptable Norwegian model deal on oil… for ALL NZers ….anything else is unacceptable!

    Chooky 5.3.1
    23 January 2014 at 9:21 am
    Maybe the Labour Party should get Farouk al-Kasam out to advise them on how to go about it. He is an oil expert and has seen the downside of oil drilling in many countries both environmentally and socially. He helped Norway take control of their own oil rather than being a passive ‘victim’ of the oil multi nationals

    Farouk al-Kasim, the Iraqi geologist who has been more responsible than anyone else for Norway’s success as an oil power.

    Farouk al-Kasim, the man behind Norway’s oil success | TIME.com http://business.time.com/2009/08/31/how-socialized-health-care-made-norway-an-oil-power/#ixzz2rA0UIIyy

    Bearded Git 5.3.2
    23 January 2014 at 9:53 am
    Chooky-Norway has 67% of the oil/gas industry through Statoil (and so gets 67% of revenue as well as some jobs from the other 33%).
    Labour made noises about looking at this model when it announced the drilling policy-looks good to me.

    23 January 2014 at 10:00 am
    Yeah but NZ doesn’t have a statoil, right?

    23 January 2014 at 10:01 am
    @ Bearded Git…..great…the more every NZer gets the better…(eg for free tertiary education, health , retirement, living allowance, start up companies, public transport , railway upgrade, cleaning up rivers, full employment, safeguarding DOC estate … etc etc )

    @ geoff….well imo that is why the Labour Party need to work and get advice on how to get a get a Statoil

    • Xtasy 6.1

      Interesting, and I know Norway has been much smarter in economic planning than NZ, who fell hook line and sinker for Chicago Boys under Douglas.

  7. shorts 7

    very wary of this announcement by Labour – its good that protections and regulations will be increased under it but not a word on actually increasing the royalty payable to NZ, ie making the risk actually worth it (highly debatable in itself)

    The party is gambling with a lot of votes with this announcement and issue

    • toad 7.1

      But those votes will only go to the Greens, and thereby strengthen the Greens’ negotiating position in coalition negotiations with Labour. Which is not a bad thing imo, given that I support the Greens’ position that the return is not worth the risk.

      • Jenny 7.1.1

        “But those votes will only go to the Greens, and thereby strengthen the Greens’ negotiating position in coalition negotiations with Labour.”

        No, this policy will strengthen National’s announced election strategy of demonising the Green Party, and cost the Green Party votes.

        Instead of standing in solidarity with their coalition “partner” Labour is letting them swing in the wind to become a target for the Nats.

        • Colonial Viper

          Why are you still posting? Apart from one comment lprent let through a couple of days ago, you are still banned as far as I know and have repeatedly flouted that ban.

          • Jenny

            Why are you still posting?…
            you are still banned as far as I know…

            I don’t know.

            [lprent; She has been writing comments throughout her ban. Periodically I see a particularly pertinent one and don’t file it in the trash. Other moderators do as well. Her commenting style is getting more concise and effective as she waits out the exile. 😈 ]

        • toad

          No, this policy will strengthen National’s announced election strategy of demonising the Green Party, and cost the Green Party votes.

          That strategy worked a treat the last time the Nats tried it. In 1999, the Nats attempt to demonise the Greens saw Green support increase from 1% 6 weeks before the election to break the 5% threshold.

          • marty mars

            It seems a clear distancing tactic from labour and the greens are left as targets between the ‘sensible’ gnats and labour. i don’t think Mana will cave so the greens have good company and of course the many many citizens prepared to fight in the ditches on this one. What about fracking labour? Oh that’s right let’s get the best practice models in place – ffs

            • shorts

              seems labour are all about being seen to be moderate and pragmatic… appeal to those nice moderate voters everyone targets…. which seems to be at odds with what so many (on the left at least) want

  8. Enough is Enough 8

    There is only one way to be certain that these Foreign Capitalist Burglars do not destroy our seas, surf, beach and marine wild life.

    That is don’t allow them to poke holes into the sea bed under any circumstance.

    No Ifs. No Buts. No Deep Sea Drilling

  9. JK 9

    This is a useful summary of the current Labour position – thanks, Mickey. Its a difficult issue for both Labour and Greens to tackle together – and also for Labour to tackle internally. I take your point about the EPMU particularly being in favour because of the current jobs available in Taranaki, but when you hear that the EPA hasn’t really looked at how specific, practical or stringent the Anadarko’s spill-cleanup processes are, you do have to wonder whether NZ is taking a bit too much on trust – from the exploration companies.

  10. Jackal 10

    First off, extractive industries are not a significant part of the New Zealand economy. They provide a minuscule amount of reimbursement, which is currently the fourth lowest in the world. They also receive substantial government subsidies. Between 2008 and 2012 the National government provided the oil and gas industry with $326.6 million worth of subsidies and extended a number of tax-breaks, which effectively mean taxpayers are paying for the oil and gas industry to be here.

    Furthermore, when claims of the oil and gas industry providing $10 billion are made, they need to be taken with a grain of salt. This amount is the TOTAL income from oil and gas since those industries began in New Zealand around a hundred years ago. This figure is also the best-case scenario if all current and potential sites produce at full capacity. In other words it’s a big fat lie! Also keep in mind that clean technology like solar and wind power creates five times as many jobs as the oil and gas industry for the same amount of investment.

    When you combine these facts with the reality that New Zealand is in no way ready to deal with even a moderately small oil spill, then it is clear that we shouldn’t be following National down the environmentally destructive and economically irresponsible road to oblivion.

    The so-called leaders of New Zealand can wax lyrical about needing growth and creating jobs, but when these things come at huge expense to the environment and undoubtedly contribute to climate change, then people need to draw a line in the sand. The small amount of income from the oil and gas industry will certainly not pay for the damage caused by increased amounts of severe weather events…it will not pay for the clean-up in the event of a large scale disaster like the Deepwater Horizon.

    • marty mars 10.1

      + 1 Yes jackal their projections and financials are always optimistically made up and that point needs to be hammered day and night.

    • Chooky 10.2

      @ Jackel…all the more reason why Labour should take NZ govt control of any oil exploration as Norway did before the big finds…when big finds were just a possibility.

      ….it may be that areas are too risky for drilling given the earthquakes risks and liabilites to NZers…eg..do oil extraction sink holes cause earthquakes ?( from an ex oil worker I heard that off the coast of Japan on some island they did …and it did not receive international publicity)

      ….also from what I have heard from Taranaki relatives ….oil toxin /pollution of land is covered up by bribes /handouts to the farmers concerned

      ….a wider issue is fracking….does the NZ State know and does the NZ State yet have jurisdiction on the types of chemicals/toxins that are/will be pumped into our Earth in fracking?….another reason for State control

      NZ needs big international experience and advice on these issues with NZers interests at heart….our politicians are not experienced and probably quite naive….as NZers lets not be taken for fools and ripped off…we have to insist our politicians act responsibly and are held accountable

    • Paul 10.3

      Miss your blog Jackal!

    • Naki Man 10.4

      Your numbers are crap.
      This is our 4th biggest earner at $2.2 billion per year

  11. Bill 11

    I’m going to punt on public opinion having a significant impact on party positions re drilling/exploration in the not too distant future.

    At the moment, the ‘discussion’ has AGW sitting off in the background somewhere. If and when we bring that to the fore, attitudes will shift and parties (eventually) respond accordingly.

    • Jenny 11.1

      “At the moment, the ‘discussion’ has AGW sitting off in the background somewhere. If and when we bring that to the fore, attitudes will shift and parties (eventually) respond accordingly.”

      Until then; The snake eats the elephant again.


      If David Cunliffe had come out against Deep Sea Oil Drilling and explained why, this would move the debate about climate change front and centre in these elections.

      And it is a debate that National could not possibly win. And as you say Bill, attitudes would shift and (all) parties would have to respond accordingly.

      The fact is we need to be having this debate now, not at some time in the undefined future. Because quite frankly, Time Has Run Out.

      • marty mars 11.1.1

        Good points jenny – the days of pretend caring are over the time for leadership and courage are here – labour could have had a game-changer here if they had fronted up to reality instead they slip back into the morasses of vote-chasing and short-term opportunism, bundled tightly with denial, and illusory business as usual. The time to make a stand on this is now because that has the best chance of shifting attitudes and helping people get ready for the future upon us now.

    • McFlock 11.2

      couple more Auckland tornadoes would change the dialogue sharpish

  12. Skinny 12

    In effect what Labour is doing here is taking the wind out of Nationals sails. There are three good things that I can see at first blush.

    1. Keeping the fight tight, DC by stating they will continue deep sea drilling, silences National on exploration revenue, which appeals to many Kiwi’s. Labour actually have the advantage of being able to lay criticism 
    of the Government for the low returns to this Country that they brokered. 
    It also gives Labour the ability to replicate highly successful wealth sharing model like that in Norway.  

    2. Labour get to tidy up Nationals scruffy-hasty legislation, introducing environmental regulations, that quite frankly National were irresponsibly negligent, it horrified the most avid pro drilling supporter, once details of a ‘what if’ case scenario unfolded.

    3. There coalition partners the Greens get to strengthen environmental legislation, it would be a harsh critic that deny they have our environments best interests at heart, hence our own. They also get input into refining financial benefits from any drilling agreement.                      

    It is very enjoyable watching Key-National self destruct 🙂 All those false smiles and nervous twitches so early in election year.  

    • Jenny 12.1


    • weka 12.2

      Agreed. I think this is potentially a very smart move from Labour. It will appeal to their voters and potential voters while allowing the GP to speak out strongly on its own policy. At best it will shift NZ further left, and further towards real environmental policy.

      The crunch is whether Labour will follow through with the potential, or whether it will be nobbled yet again by the neoliberals within the party and the policy gets watered down. We’re all still waiting to see which way Labour is going to go.

      • Skinny 12.2.1

        Yes Weka there are a few in that caucus like Goff that need muzzling. The last thing the LP needs to be doing is sending out mixed messages. While most of the rank and file appear to have overwhelming endorsed a correction to the left, it’s your bloody MPs who run a muck.

  13. xtasy 13

    The announcements that Cunliffe made yesterday did not surprise me at all. There is obviously a reprioritising process happening re Labour’s policies, and a defining re how they will look like. As Cunliffe continues to stress the aim of making New Zealand more “sustainable”, some will rest assured, that the medium to long term direction remains unchanged, that New Zealand will become an environmentally more responsible and sounder economy and society, relying more on “green” or alternative energy.

    But as it has been pointed out, there are union members working in oil and gas drilling, in mining and other related sectors, and there are also a fair number of people in the public, who depend on and want to continue to rely on these industries.

    So Labour is of course caught in a spot, where it has to please both sides to the argument, the more environmentally concerned and the more industry and employment concerned.

    It makes common sense to follow the model that Norway used, but it will take time and effort to see how that can be realised in a rather “hands off” economic environment that New Zealand has become. I doubt that the ideas of Hugo Chavez will be followed by Cunliffe and Labour, and setting up an SOE, or having Solid Energy reinvigorated and involved, will be no easy task.

    In any case, it is my view, that it is becoming clearer, how Cunliffe and Labour are going to fight this election. Stuart Nash revealed some of that apparent agenda in his The Daily Blog post not long ago:

    While I do not expect David Cunliffe to lead Labour down the track as Nash seems to suggest they should go, I believe it is fair to expect that Labour will fight the election focused clearly on the middle class, at the same time trying to win over the working poor. They will though make efforts to show the differences to the Greens and will try to win back some votes from the Greens, but more focus on getting votes off National and the non voters that may be found with more “centrist” views and expectations.

    The gloves will come of on some topics, and deep sea drilling and mining will be one of these. And the Greens will be advised to run a very independent, determined, resourceful and convincing campaign themselves, to represent the interests and expectations of those that would not feel at home on the right or right of centre, and who disagree with Labour.

    I take note that Labour continues to be extremely silent on welfare matters too, and anything coming from Moroney and others, it is always about “the jobs not being there”, and more jobs being needed, and other aspects of employment. There is little comment on the way sick, disabled, solo parents and so get ushered into work now under this government, and if there is a mention, it is all about “fairness” but not about the drive and the supposed “evidence” what the policies are based on.

    My view is that Cunliffe wants to get as many votes as possible, so he will in his coming speech be “broad” and “inclusive”, not talk to much on specifics, and we are generally getting more of the same of what Labour stood for in the last 2 elections, just worded and presented smarter and better, and with slightly changed policies, to appeal to more of the wider public.

    Hence, due to my particular concerns and expectations, I will not be convinced by Labour, and will most likely vote Greens, who need now ideally 15 to 20 per cent of the votes, to make sure Labour will honour the more social and environmental policy promises that they may make and want to fight the election with. That is of course in view of the fact, that the Greens are the only logical “partner” for Labour in government. I will not be surprised if the Greens will now want to become even more “independent”, and open up to other political alliances, as in some European countries.

    Also would I not be surprised, that if the Greens become too much “out of line” for Labour, we may even get a “Grand Coalition”, as they have in Germany, with or without Cunliffe leading Labour into that. I would dread this the most. But this will surely be the most interesting election in decades.

  14. Poission 14

    The party’s policy platform places an emphasis on addressing climate change. An “all gases all sectors” ETS free from subsidies to greenhouse gas polluters is supported

    So they are supporting existing government policy IE The removal of fossil fuel subsidies which the IEA suggest will by 2020

    i)slash growth in energy demand by 4.1%
    ii)reduce growth in oil demand by 3.7mb/d
    iii)cut growth in CO2 emissions by 1.7 G


    NZ is a party to the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform which are lobbying for the changes,and if implemented are equal to the total energy consumption of Japan,Korea and NZ.


    An argument that nothing has been implemented from a policy perspective is incorrect.

    • Jenny 14.1

      Words are cheap

      Unfortunately Poisson neither link you provided addressed or challenged or even mentioned the biggest ever fossil fuel subsidy ever given in this country’s history.

      The $155million bail out made up of gifts and loans given by the government to prop up Solid Energy.

      Nore does it mention the $60 odd million of tax payers money given to the Deep Sea oil Drillers to entice them here.

  15. Jenny 15

    “My view is that Cunliffe wants to get as many votes as possible, so he will in his coming speech be “broad” and “inclusive”, not talk to much on specifics, and we are generally getting more of the same of what Labour stood for in the last 2 elections, just worded and presented smarter and better, and with slightly changed policies, to appeal to more of the wider public.”

    Deep sea oil drilling is one of these polices that “we are generally getting more of the same of”, “just worded and presented smarter and better, and with slightly changed policies, to appeal to more of the wider public.”

    Labour says views on mining close to Govt’s
    NZ Herald July 27, 2012

    Labour’s finance spokesman, David Parker, says his party’s policies on oil, gas and mineral extraction are close to those of the Government.

    “I don’t think we are much different from National,” Parker said. “They’ve continued on with the programme that we started in respect to oil and gas,”

  16. Not a PS Staffer 16

    I hope that oil is discovered by Anadarko and that a safe production regime is implemented.

    The New Zealand people deserve the good fortune that a major oil find will bring. It could go some ways to improving incomes, funding pensions from 65 (not 67!) improving education and re-shaping our economy.

    All of the oil wells in New Zealand require pumping to release the oil. The BP/Anadarko well in the Gulf had positive pressure and thus spewed when the capping mechanism failed. It should not be compared to the know NZ wells.

    • Bill 16.1

      Do you not think the positive pressure might have had something to do with the depth? I mean, I don’t know and am just guessing here. Maybe someone with some relevant knowledge is around…?

    • freedom 16.2

      Yes Taranaki has been operating for decades with a fair safety record, thankfully very few incidents and no major spill. However, these new wells are not only hitting staggering new depths but doing so in largely unknown environments that have not had any previous drilling. The list of unknowns is as long as your arm and if you spend three seconds engaging your brain you would see the current permit process and the explorations already under way are nothing short of corrupt in their disdain for due process and common sense. Let alone their total failure as examples of good governance.

      To continue oil explorations off our coastline without immediate access to and complete control of all emergency spill response equipment is ecologically risky, fiscally negligent and just f’n stupid.

  17. Not a PS Staffer 17

    The line peddled by the Greens, that enough oil has been discovered to date to satisfy world needs and there we should not look for any in NZ, does not work with me.

    As a Kiwi worker I’d like to see oil production related jobs happen here rather than in Murmansk or Aberdeen.

    As a Kiwi taxpayer I’d like to see the royalty incomes flow here in Godzone rather than to the Kremlin gangsters or the Norwegian taxpayers.

    As a Kiwi parent I’d like to see royalty income transform our economy so that we have the nation that we want.

    Cunliffe is 100% right to back more exploration.

    • toad 17.1

      NaPSS, Do you envision any scenario under which we transition from fossil fuel dependency to renewable energy sources before the cost of extracting fossil fuels makes it uneconomic to continue to do so and/or before the emissions from burning it cause the planet to fry?

      If so, why not start doing it now, and set an example for the rest of the world, rather than be in for the quick buck. We can get earnings and jobs from developing and exporting renewable energy technology rather than join the race to the bottom in gobbling up what is left of the planet’s fossil fuel reserves in denial of the impending climate catastrophe.

  18. Not a PS Staffer 18

    “Set an example for the rest of the world”by not going after oil revenue?

    No Way!

    I’m not going to tell the 250,000 kids who go to bed hungry that they should feel better about it because some people like the feeling of setting an example to the rest of the world.

    • freedom 18.1

      i thought it was avarice, seems i was wrong

      Not drilling causes child poverty !! ROFLMAO

  19. Tim O'Shea 19

    “Labour had always been clear about its position” – sorry, but that’s a joke. How many times have people been asking for clarity from Labour on its position on deep sea drilling ?? The silence has been deafening !

    And now, to confirm my worst fears, it looks like National Lite is alive and kicking. Am I the only person that rememberd the recent F’ing referendum results?? Two thirds opposed. That’s 66%, boys and girls! Does anyone really think that the majority of these voters weren’t on the left rather than right? How is supporting deep sea drilling going to win votes for labour??

    Can someone please explain to me how “three fifths of Feck all” of oil revenue is going to help our 250,000 kids living in poverty. What benefit are they getting from current oil revenues ffs ?

    I have been red all my life. Today I am red with anger, disappointment and exasperation. This is not the right road! Kick Goff and Jones in to touch and veer left, or its goodbye to the Labour Party and hello to a strong Green party in opposition under another Tory government.

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