web analytics

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

          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

          “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

          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

          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

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

            • karol

              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

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

          Just a matter of priorities really.

          • Colonial Viper

            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

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • A charge on plastic bags – debunking some myths
    The launch of my Members’ Bill last week, which would introduce a 15 cent charge on single-use plastic bags at the check-out, has generated a lot of comment on mainstream and social media. From The Paul Henry Show at the ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    22 hours ago
  • National’s $1trillion property sandcastle
    The National government's failure to fix the housing crisis has seen the ballooning and unsustainable property market touch the $1 trillion mark, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. "Labour wants an economy that creates high wage work that is based ...
    23 hours ago
  • Government failure on housing crisis drives Reserve Bank to add tools
    If the Government was delivering a comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis, it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank would be continuing to pursue debt to income limits for lending for housing, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 days ago
  • International embarrassment for NZ likely over National’s failure to protect Maui dolphin
    New Zealanders who care about Maui dolphin should prepare to feel embarrassed: the Government is about to be put to shame on the international stage for its lack of action to protect Maui’s dolphin. The International Whaling Commissions’ 66th Biennial ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    4 days ago
  • Why don’t we spend $1b to keep people out of jail, rather than spending it on keeping them in?
    Earlier this week, Corrections Minister Judith Collins announced the government’s ‘solution’ to our burgeoning prison population. It seems that most, if not all, of Bill English’s hard-won surplus is going to disappear into another round of prison-building.  That must be ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    6 days ago
  • PKE Ship Sent Packing – Not Too Soon
    It is appropriate that the palm kernel expeller (PKE) ship off Tauranga has been sent packing. For weeks I have been saying this ship needed to be sent away, but it seems as if MPI has been trying to find ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    6 days ago
  • Do you #LoveSnow?
    I was a lucky kid. When I was about five or six my mum and auntie took me up to Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu and taught me to ski. As a young kid I thought there was no bigger ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    6 days ago
  • Awa Kairangi/Hutt River – Swimmable?
    On Thursday night I hosted a great swimmable rivers meeting organised by the local Greens in Heretaunga (Hutt Valley). It was great to see about 70 people attend and engage in the topic. We were welcomed by Te Atiawa representative ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    6 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    6 days ago
  • Barry Coates on his first weeks in Parliament
    Week one in Parliament has been quite an occasion. I would like to share the experience. I had given up on the prospect of getting into Parliament before the election and had been enjoying the diverse work I was doing ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    6 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    7 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    1 week ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    1 week ago
  • Vote Sooty Shearwater/Tītī for Bird of the Year
    Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) are amazing and deserve your vote in Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year competition.  They make one of the longest known bird migrations, flying an annual round trip of 64,000 kms across the entire Pacific ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    1 week ago
  • Energy use going in the wrong direction
    New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    1 week ago
  • Junior Doctors go on Strike
    Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours.  The Green Party supports their cause, and particularly their claims to reduce the number of days worked from up to ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    1 week ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    1 week ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening our relationship with the Rātana movement
    It was a privilege to visit Rātana Pā last week with fellow Greens’ Co-leader James Shaw, our Māori Caucus and senior staff to meet with the leaders of te iwi mōrehu, to strengthen the ties between the Green Party and ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 week ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    1 week ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disconnected thinking dirties the water
    Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago