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Drill baby drill

Written By: - Date published: 8:12 am, April 3rd, 2014 - 40 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, energy, Environment, greens, Mining, national, same old national - Tags:

Piha no oil sea drilling protest-17

Two days after the IPCC has warned of the dangers posed by climate change and this Government has announced proposals to open up much of New Zealand’s territorial area for exploratory oil drilling.  The timing shows either either stunning ineptitude or extreme belligerence.

National yesterday reaffirmed what is effectively its only economic policy apart from trickle down, and that is drill baby drill.  It released its 2014 block offer of areas for exploratory drilling and an area one and a half times the size of New Zealand’s land mass is available for oil companies to seek the right to drill into.

It consulted previously on what areas should be included and what conditions should be applied.  433 thousand square kilometres of area was up for investigation, following analysis of the submissions that figure has been reduced slightly to 405 thousand square kilometres.

It seems the Herald has missed the boat on the issue.  It posted the New Caledonian Basin block offer map to suggest what was up for tendering and the map used does not look so bad.  The New Caledonial Basin block looks like this:

New Caledonian block offer

But the Herald did not display the Reinga Block offer which is also on offer and which is much more relevant to Aucklanders.  This area looks like this:

Reinga Block offer

You have to wonder why the Herald decided to choose a map that did not show Aucklanders that exploratory oil wells may be popping up within visual sight of the West Coast.

The consultation has resulted in some areas being withdrawn from consideration.  But Auckland’s West Coast?  Despite its immense beauty and despite it being a habit for the extremely endangered Maui’s dolphin the available area has not changed from the draft and requested enhancements have not been approved.

To be frank Auckland Council dropped the ball when considering what to submit and apart from wanting to exclude coastal waters for the protection of Maui’s dolphin its submission was somewhat insipid.  It expressed general support for the proposal although it requested that the 6 nautical mile exploration free zone from the coast be extended to 12 nautical miles.  It suggested that any activities adhered to DOC’s guidelines for minimising acoustic disturbance to marine mammals and asked the Government to take action to ensure that risks of oil spills and other discharges are minimised, particularly in areas close to the coast.

There was only one vote against the proposal, that of Cathy Casey.  Well done Cathy.

The Waitakere Ranges Local Board, of which I am a proud member, was more staunch.  We believed that the area should not potentially be part of an oil field.

The Officials advising Simon Bridges summarised our submission as follows:

The submission from the Waitākere Ranges Local Board opposes the allocation of petroleum permits off the western coastline of Auckland. It opposes the allocation of petroleum permits due to the risk of oils spills, the disturbance caused to the seabed and coastal marine area, and the negative effect of discharges and noises related to petroleum exploration activities.

The submission also notes that much of the coast is part of the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area, and that the coastal marine area in question contains a number of important ecological features.

The Waitākere Ranges Local Board also notes in its submission that the coastal area is home to the endangered Māui’s dolphin, as well as a marine mammal sanctuary, and that this area contains important populations of fish, shell-fish and seabirds. They also note the important recreation value of this area.

Finally the submission notes that the terrain of the area means there is limited access to the coast, which could be problematic in the event of any land-based oil spill response.

How were our submissions treated?  The officers recommended no change to the area and thought that existing protections are adequate and that the details concerning seismic activity would not threaten Maui’s dolphin.  I hope they are right.  If for instance there was an oil spill then some of the world’s most picturesque beaches could be ruined.

Simon Bridges was interviewed.  Watch the video and wonder why he should be entrusted with a decision making ability on behalf of New Zealand Aotearoa.

The Greens have rightfully wondered why he should be Associate Minister in charge of Climate Change issues.  It speaks volumes of this Government that someone who is so pro drilling should be in charge of our response to what is this world’s biggest environmental threat.


40 comments on “Drill baby drill”

  1. Philj 1

    Why is Simon Bridges Associate Minister for Climate Change? Because he’s a supporter of it. Duh.

  2. logie97 2

    M.S. We needn’t worry. Jokey has it under control. He expressed his deep concerns over dinner in China recently. Apparently NZ scientists are developing new grasses.

  3. Enough is Enough 3

    A Progressive gevernment with a strong Green presence will stop this on day 1. That’s the day after the election.

    If you don’t want drilling off our coast you have only one option. You must vote Green in September.

    Labour’s fence sitting position is not good enough.

    • Tamati 3.1

      Are you sure about that?

      Russel Norman has not committed to stopping oil drilling if they are in government. Having no bottom lines is effectively saying you are willing to sell out on any of your principles.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        I see Tamati, now you are an expert on moral thought and political philosophy?

        Has John Key expressed any “bottom lines” to do with Winston Peters this year? Or does that mean, according to your view, that Key is effectively saying that he will sell out his principles to work with NZ First?

  4. Jenny 4

    “Two days after the IPCC has warned of the dangers posed by climate change and this Government has announced proposals to open up much of New Zealand’s territorial area for exploratory oil drilling. The timing shows either either stunning ineptitude or extreme belligerence.”


    Couldn’t agree with you more on that one Greg.

    “It seems the Herald has missed the boat on the issue. It posted the New Caledonian Basin block offer map to suggest what was up for tendering and the map used does not look so bad”

    “But the Herald did not display the Reinga Block offer which is also on offer and which is much more relevant to Aucklanders”

    “You have to wonder why the Herald decided to choose a map that did not show Aucklanders that exploratory oil wells may be popping up within visual sight of the West Coast”


    Not so sure about this one Greg

    Don’t you think this looks a bit like nimbyism? Your electorate MP with whom you are purported to have a close relationship with, says he supports deep sea oil drilling the most dangerous and risky form of oil drilling there is. Yet when it looks that oil drilling my be getting a bit close to yours and his electorate you are all up in arms?

    If you were really concerned about climate change, the environment and the survival of the Hector’s Dolphin I think you need to have a quite word with your MP and tell him that he has made a dreadful mistake.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      I express my own opinions Jenny. The Labour Party is a broad church with a variety of views. My own views are heavily tinged with a green approach.

      Labour’s position is quite complex. I posted previously on this to try and tease the issue out. There was a good discussion and the post is at http://thestandard.org.nz/deep-sea-oil-drilling/

      David Cunliffe’s view as expressed this morning is as follows:

      “Labour is not opposed in principle to offshore oil exploration but we are not satisfied with the environmental standards in place.

      New Zealand needed world best practice standards.

      “And we also need full liability and clean-up cover and to make better use of the revenues from that oil and till we have that fixed we should not have a fire sale on exploration permits.”

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        New Zealand needed world best practice standards.

        As far as I can make out, current world best practice isn’t good enough.

      • Jenny 4.1.2

        “The Labour Party is a broad church with a variety of views.”

        I can believe that, how else can we explain the long membership of Roger Douglas in the Labour Party? Some have said that the neo liberal takeover of the Labour Party was a coup. But for years beforehand, Roger Douglas had openly voiced his views at every Labour Party forum he attended, of course he was shouted down at every occasion as well, but the fact is that he and his views were tolerated and given a full hearing.

        We see David Parker saying that Labour and National policies on oil, gas and mineral extraction are close to those of the government’s. We see Right leaning Labour MP Shane Jones all over the media and taking the lead, while David Cunliffe has all but disappeared from public view.

        We saw Shane Jones screaming down Russel Norman in parliament for reading out Leb Sano’s plea to the world to cut back on fossil fuels, without even a word of censure from Labour leader David Cunliffe. Leb Sano had made his plea to the world after the terrible humanitarian disaster that struck his home town when it was mown down by the most powerful storm ever recorded.

        Lately we have seen personal attacks from Jones on Green MPs for daring to raise concerns about the environment.

        Maybe instead of standing for everything, maybe Labour needs to be less broad and more focused, so that people actually know what Labour stand for and can cast their vote accordingly.

        The antonym of broad is narrow. If Labour was truly a broad church then the Labour leader would not have closed the door to any counter-views over deep sea oil drilling, by making the statement that Labour supported the continuation of deep sea oil drilling. Not only shutting down discussion in his own party, but torpedoing any future talks over this issue with the Greens.

        If as you say Greg your own views are heavily tinged with a green approach, then you are in a broad party that may tolerate your views, but doesn’t give them any respect.

        In my opinion it is way past time that the Left started acting in the same aggressive combat mode as the Right, to our disadvantage we are far too passive and accommodating.

    • Enough is Enough 4.2

      I agree Jenny, if it is bad it is bad everywhere.

  5. Jenny 5

    “The Greens have rightfully wondered why he should be Associate Minister in charge of Climate Change issues. It speaks volumes of this Government that someone who is so pro drilling should be in charge of our response to what is this world’s biggest environmental threat.”


    Couldn’t agree with you more on that one either Greg

    “There was only one vote against the proposal, that of Cathy Casey. Well done Cathy.


    Presumably none of the Labour Party councilors had the stomach or the will to stand with Casey.


    “David Parker was Energy Minister during the last Labour Government and said about $20 million was spent on seismic surveys to supply to big oil companies and entice them to New Zealand.”

    Ninbyism now that it has ended up on our doorstep?

    • mickysavage 5.1

      My own personal view is that deep sea oil drilling is far too unsafe. The proposal is especially stupid out west because of the potential threats posed to some pretty stunning landscape. It is not nimbyism.

      • Enough is Enough 5.1.1

        As opposed to what other landscape?

        The whole of New Zealand is stunning.

        The drillers can fuck off from every coast!!!!!!!

      • Jenny 5.1.2

        I think the message is clear Greg, if you want to save the world’s littlest dolphin and the sea’s off your patch, and draw a line in the sand over climate change, then you need to have a word with your candidate. If necessary a hard word over his support for deep sea oil drilling.

        What are you asking with this post?

        Surely you must agree that it would be sheer hypocrisy and sure political suicide for any leader to promise to give protection to only the patch of sea off his electorate?

        Far better and moral would he demand the end of all new off shore oil exploration.

        The Green Party will be bringing a demand for a total moratorium on deep sea oil drilling from all our waters to coalition talks.

        In your opinion Greg, do you think that would be something Labour could agree on?

        Weka has asked Labour party members like yourself, if giving up mining the Denniston plateau, would be that hard for Labour to give up?

        Others have asked, since Andarko found nothing and has departed our waters, surely this would make it easy for Labour to agree to stopping further deep sea oil exploration?

        In age of climate change all new fossil fuel initiatives must be halted.

        So how about it Greg, will you be joining with the Greens and demanding that the Labour Leader reverse his support for Deep Sea Oil?

        After all you are better placed than just about anyone else in the country to do so.

        If he doesn’t agree, you must begin the process of deselection.

        Greg rather than complaining about what is happening just in your little patch, if you are really concerned about the future world our children will inherit, this is the moral challenge you must take up.

        No New Coal Mines!

        No Deep Sea Oil Drilling!

        No Fracking!

        • Jenny

          Greg for all your fighting talk about protecting your coast and fighting climate change which you rightly call “this world’s biggest environmental threat”. You as well as everyone else who reads this column knows that words are cheap.

          You need to be ruthless, you need to match your words with action.

          Greg without taking action to match your words you risk coming across as an insipid and impotent whiner.

          Greg if your current electorate MP still insists on threatening your coast and wrecking the climate even under the threat of deselection, then you must do it. In deselecting your current candidate, no need to worry about this affecting his ability to carry out his job or continue in his current role, I hear he is pretty high up the list. (number 1 if I recall correctly) and so should be very safe. The only difference is that you would have a candidate that more represented your and your LEC member’s views. Not only that, but your new candidate’s ranking on the party list will give you a good idea of how well your (and presumably your new candidate’s) views are respected by the Party.

          We have to stop mucking around the stakes are too high, and time is rapidly running out.


  6. Once was Pete 6

    I am very ‘green’ in my daily life. I have revegated maybe 40+ha of native plantings, so I care deeply about the purity of the environment. I do wish however, that so many well meaning people would not conflate such wide ranging issues. Climate change, pollution, oil exploration etc may well impact each other, but they are separate issues, and should be dealt with that way.
    The problem I have with the IPCC is that they have a track record in over hyping their announcements and predictions to the point now that the general public probably feels more than a little blasé about their latest summary. When many of the the IPCC’s predictions (glaciers melting, temperature increase, extreme weather events as examples) have either shown to be over hyped or simply not materialised then people can be forgiven for losing the faith and feeling that the IPCC has some other agenda than scientific integrity.
    So in relation to the above, I would infinitely prefer to view the oil exploration in terms of the impact it will have on our environment ( coast line, fishing stocks, etc). I would really like to have access to a lot more of that sort of detailed information, than getting exercised by the IPCC.
    Just saying!

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Climate change, pollution, oil exploration etc may well impact each other, but they are separate issues, and should be dealt with that way.

      No they’re not. They’re inter-related issues and need to be dealt with that way.

      The problem I have with the IPCC is that they have a track record in over hyping their announcements

      Actually, they’ve been doing the exact opposite and under-cooking their announcements which is why what’s happening in the real world is on the upper extremes of the IPCC projections.

      I would really like to have access to a lot more of that sort of detailed information, than getting exercised by the IPCC.

      That’s because you’re living in denial.

      • Once was Pete 6.1.1

        I am not going to get into this cite your references stuff, because I just don’t have the time to get into it with you, but climate change is a subject I have done a lot of reading on, and I cannot recall even one prediction the IPCC has got right (selective memory? Maybe.), but I can recall a large number they have got wrong by a wide margin. In my view they are their own worst enemy, if they hadn’t got so zealous and exaggerated for dramatic effect they might have a more attentive audience.

  7. Doug 7

    The climate models have done pretty well given the difficulties the modellers having in estimating future climate forcings, which are endogenous to the models. Tamino demonstrates for example that Hansen’s 1988 projections are almost on the money once adjustments are made for actual forcings that have occurred (e.g. aerosols, methane, solar).


    Just out of curiosity what have the scientists (not the media) exaggerated?

    • lprent 7.1

      Just out of curiosity what have the scientists (not the media) exaggerated?

      Nothing. They have always been too conservative. Hardly surprising as in many areas the information to be closer to reality simply wasn’t available at the time.

      • Doug 7.1.1

        Yes I have never read anything in the reputable literature which was not measured or even cautious.

        Can’t say the same of the unreputable lit (i.e. E&E).

  8. Well this is what I wrote when Anadarko said they didn’t find oil (which by the way was disingenuous to the max as they can find with 99% certainty what is under the surface with HAARP technology and the drills are just exercises in how or where to get it out)

  9. Wyndham, George 9

    We import oil that is extracted elsewhere and shipped to NZ.
    Whether that quantity of oil is extracted here or elsewhere does not effect the climate issue to any measureable degree. (The reduced shipping energy consumption is a minor benefit)

    Not drilling and extracting here while encouraging drilling and extraction elsewhere, by buying oil. Is gross hypocracy. Pure unadulterated NIMBY behaviour.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      So you would be supportive of moving our economy off of its addiction to oil?

      • Wyndham, George 9.1.1

        Yes. Any read of of the realities of climate science, history and politics leads to that conclusion.

        How long before we can get to a point that we no not need to import oil?

        • Ennui

          Well done gents, we the individuals are the problem and the solution.

        • Draco T Bastard

          If we pulled out all the stops I guestimate that we could do it in 10 to 20 years with National and Act whinging all the way.

          • Not a PS Staffer

            I suspect we have increased our dependance on oil over the past 20 years. We have brought a number of wind farms on stream but no hydro schemes have been built. With the privatisation of generation by National the oil v non oil situation will not improve.

            An aggressive program would take a lot more than 20 years to get us off the oil drug.

            I believe we will continue to consume large quantities of oil. Therefore we should explore on-land and around our coast rather than import it.

            We have no right to feel morally superior by refusing to drill here while relying on others to drill elsewhere.

  10. tc 10

    “The timing shows either either stunning ineptitude or extreme belligerence…”

    Calculated belligerence Mickey, this is fertile ground for act to deny global warming, nat’s to bang on about all the export earnings and jobs and all the other BS that’s been debunked over and over.

    Bet they’ll weave in a narrative about all the protesters being anti NZ and work on the margins…..it worked with the bok tour in 81 so pardon the pun but it’s a well they keep going back to as it produces the good oil for them.

    It’s all timed and calculated to build a narrative they’ll slam home during the GE with the help of hoots, WO, KB and all their other media outlets they influence which includes the ‘refocused’ RNZ now.

  11. Philj 11

    Re. ‘Refocused RNZ’. I suspect National Radio will start reflecting its name. With Jim Mora doing drive time interviews, I expect a limp ‘have a nice day’ approach to current affairs. I await with interest. I feel that RNZ is heading down the same route of lowest common denominator of TVNZ. Add the frozen funding and the stacked board with Nats commercial media mates. Not looking good for our only quality, non commercial ,independent public broadcaster.

  12. Jrobin 12

    Espiner did good interview of Contact ? CEO this morning. I was quite surprised as it was definitely not pro status quo and he asked thorny questions. I agree though it is a worry as RNZ is the last bastion of reasonably fair journalism. Miracle of miracles though Audrey Young just reported Roy Morgan Poll in the Herald. Shock horror! And Labour Green bloc now ahead. Nats are down to 43. Labour up to 32 Greens 13 nz first 5.5. Internet 0.5. 🙂

  13. felix 13

    “Simon Bridges was interviewed. Watch the video and wonder why he should be entrusted with a decision making ability on behalf of New Zealand Aotearoa.”

    Seriously, he shouldn’t be trusted to make the tea. He’s a horrible little bogan of the very worst kind.

    ps expect to see many more just like him on National’s list…

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