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Oil Free Otago’s day of action

Written By: - Date published: 8:16 am, January 12th, 2014 - 38 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, sustainability - Tags:


If you are looking for something to do today and live near Dunedin Oil Free Otago is holding a day of action.  From Pasupial (and apologies for missing yesterday’s events):

Originally planned to coincide with the beginning of Anadarko’s drilling operations off the Otago coast, this weekend Dunedin hosts the New Zealand Oil Free Future Conference 2014.  The programme is here.

The fine work of the Oil Free Seas Flotilla off the coast of Te Ika-o-Maui seems to have delayed the arrival of the Anadarko exploration vessel for some weeks. Which is something to hold in mind when others deride protest action as futile. Now we prepare for that struggle to resume in Te Waipounamu. Aotearoa is watching, climate aware Southerners; here is your chance to represent the cause!

The final part of the Oil Free Future Summit is a demonstration blockade of the Otago harbour between Goat and Quarantine islands. So, even if you are not coming to any of the conference talks; if you’re in Dunedin and have a sea-worthy vessel (even if just a kayak), float on down to Goat island. If you’re a land-lubber like me you can head on down to:

“The bus stop on the one‐way street outside Countdown Supermarket, Dunedin Central. This is where the bus will leave 12:00pm sharp on Sunday to take people to the HANDS OFF OUR HARBOUR day of action.” As we won’t actually yet be blockading any actual drilling-support vessels, this will be a bit of shake-down cruise to practice later tactics in a less confrontational setting than was originally envisioned. I’m told it should be done by 3pm.


38 comments on “Oil Free Otago’s day of action”

  1. Pasupial 1

    Thanks for that Micky Savage. There’s a nice pic from the St Clair Beach campaign of last year in this brief TV3 story. It’s going to be a mission and a half to do a similar hand-chain across the harbour, so it’ll be good to get the practice for when the igNoble Bob Douglas comes down our way.


  2. Chooky 2

    How would the Greens feel if NZ took control of the oil industry ( as opposed to the Oil companies taking control of NZ)…..and the profits went to all NZers?( as has been done in Norway…see link below)


    ‘The Iraqi who saved Norway from oil’
    By Martin Sandbu (FT Magazine August 19,2009)

    …if there is oil within NZ’s jurisdiction….why give it away to the oil companies?……this is what will happen unless NZ takes control of this resource!………and God knows we as a country and people need the money…

    • Pasupial 2.1


      I’ve been a Green party member for less than a year, so can’t really tell you much more about their oil nationalisation policies than is available on their web site. That said, the speakers at yesterday’s conference seemed to be more advocating the substitution of renewable resources for oil; with a role for government in at least the establishment of infrastructure to support this.

      Neville Auton (exDCC energy manager, now energy consultant at Otago Polytech), had some amazing ideas regarding the use of waste-wood from forestry as a biofuel base. Since he’s the guy who reduced the DCC emissions from 71,231 tonnes/ year by 31, 000 tonnes/ year through his sheparding of the development of the Green Island landfill gas to energy project; I’m inclined to believe that his proposals are indeed practical. Stand-out information from a speech that already was the stand-out of the conference for me was; we would get 8 times the amount of value from pine forests by transforming them into fuel than we do flogging them off as raw timber.

  3. George D 3

    We can either have drilling, or we can have a liveable planet.

    We don’t get to have both. Sorry.

    (I really wish we didn’t have to choose, but the oil-free future contains a lot of cool technology and innovation, so it’s not all bad by any means…)

  4. Ad 4

    Would be helpful to hear some detail from Sarah Roberts on the social impact of oil exploration in New Plymouth. Hopefully there’s a counterfactual study in there of what New Plymouth would be like without any petroleum exploration.

    Meantime, the three things that best alter inequality are studied well here:


    It’s really helpful to have a strong debate about the kinds of jobs people need to pull themselves up. Particularly if those jobs have significant environmental costs.

    So put the ruler over Otago and Southland: what economic choices do their young people have?

    Over the last decade, their answer has been: None. So they leave, fast, for the mining industries of Australia. Gore’s population decreased by nearly a quarter inside a decade – almost all to Australia. Dunedin’s population remains in marginal growth.
    Only Queenstown-Lakes District, fuelled by the luxurious demands of the global super-rich and Auckland and Christchurch’s retirees, shows signs of real life.

    With the Australian eastern states slowing down, those many thousands who have left have the chance to think about returning back to Otago and Southland. What are these economies offering that would give them a prosperous future?

    • Corokia 4.1

      Not sure what that link has to do with a post on protesting off-shore drilling off the Otago coast. It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that there is no alternative to fossil fuels when it comes to jobs. Climate change ignorers seem unable to understand we HAVE to prepare for a renewable energy powered future and there are jobs in that. (I won’t call them deniers because then they squeal, rant and bore us with their nonsense)

  5. Ad 5

    Pull the viewfinder out for a moment. Every MSM media outlet, and the current government, is saying that New Zealand is in for a one or two year economic boom. Really hard to vote against in election year, and very interesting if you are seeking fresh economic growth in Otago and Southland.

    Even without a strike, the government will declare the petroleum servicing jobs in Dunedin to be a full vindication of their policy. Key and English and Joyce will quite reasonably declare that their economic policy is working, that has local benefit, has international confidence, and is good for the country.

    I would certainly not load a protest-conference with the weight of writing an alternative economic strategy that provides high income jobs with low environmental impact and high social benefit.

    But no-one other than the government appears to want to contest that debate, as yet. And it is the core electoral debate to have: is it worth gaining a richer society if we have sold our social and economic soul as a country to achieve it?

    The link provided is a start of that kind of debate. Communities with high levels of per-capita income growth, high percentages of two-parent families, and high local government spending – are communities that successfully battle against inequality. Dunedin and Southland both spend heavily on education, and there is high local government spending, for the rating base they have.

    What they don’t have are high levels of per-capita income growth. That is the debate this conference needs to ignite – at least locally, and certainly nationally.

    **durn it that should be responding to 4.1 – Help me Mickey***

    • weka 5.1

      Not quite clear – are you saying there aren’t enough jobs, or the jobs don’t pay enough?

      When are the local oil servicing jobs likely to start, and how well will they pay?

      • Ad 5.1.1

        In this story you will find the link to where Dunedin and Southland sit in average salary: last.

        And where Taranaki sits in the country: third.


        Protesting is good. Getting a richer future: even better.

        • Pasupial


          Which is why Dunedin should be moving towards dawning age of renewable energy with vigor, rather than trying to squeeze a few meager dregs out of a sunset industry. The Shell game is one wherein we take all the risk of the exploratory deep-water drilling phase, with no guarantee that any hydrocarbon deposit discovered will be ever exploited to produce these much-vaunted jobs.

          I refer you to comment 2.1; where I make note of the fact that Neville Auton’s figures show that we could get 8 times the cash value for wood by turning it into bio-fuel, than we do exporting logs. Of course, only a proportion of that would go to plantation owners such as the DCC (let’s say a half), but remainder would mainly go in processing costs which would lead to an increase in jobs for Kiwis through manufacturing. This, to me, seems better than trying to build an economy on the back of; the cash that foreign oilworkers will drop at the bars and brothels in whatever town they spend their shore-leave.

    • Poission 5.2

      What they don’t have are high levels of per-capita income growth

      They also do not have capital inflation such as property.


  6. tricledrown 6

    Ad your link to the Atlantic article.
    The AEI is a right wing EXXON no doubt Koch bro funded propaganda dark money funded organization.
    When ever I Utah marriage quoted in stats and blaming single parent families.
    I get suspicious the I check wikipedia.

  7. Jim Nald 8

    Would be interested to hear how the afternoon of action went. Nothing seems to have been reported in the media yet and the blogs may well be the only source of news.

    • Pasupial 8.1


      Went well, but was very wet. Didn’t much matter if you went in the water or not – you still got just as drenched. We didn’t even attempt the human chain; except between a few of the more experienced kayakerss and surfboardists. It’s gone all fine now that we’ve headed back into town though. And the raininess meant that it was only the most committed who showed up (probably 100+), which helped forge a sense of comeradery. Going to shower now.

      • weka 8.1.1

        100+, that’s not bad for a wet afternoon.

      • chris73 8.1.2

        So the people of Dunedin (and surrounding areas I suppose) have spoken: drilling and exploring = good

        • weka

          You might be hearing voices in your head there chris.

        • Pasupial


          So by that logic; as your comment was posted at 4:49pm, then you must believe “drilling and exploring = “bad” the other 1439 minutes of the day – even when you’re asleep or on vacation.

        • jcuknz

          It is good to know that there are only about 100 dedicated fruitcakes in Dunedin … what with the university I would have put it higher.

      • Jim Nald 8.1.3

        Thanks, Pasupial.
        That is a great number, considering the weather, and must continue to build on the campaign and movement.

  8. Corokia 9

    Ad, the debate as I see it is between a liveable climate for our children and grandchildren (and oceans able to support marine life) versus business as usual. If we keep burning fossil fuels, we now do so with the knowledge we are almost certainly causing climate change. The discussion we must have is about whether our wish for economic growth now is justification enough for screwing the planet.

    • jcuknz 9.1

      The real debate that needs to be sustained is how do we turn around the ecconomic situation where continual growth is apparently the only way whereas really we should be encouraging the brainy folk to work out how to maintain the status quo without endless growth.

      A part solution is not to have so many children that encourages the growth in consumption and how to satisfactorally manage an ecconomy where a large proportion of the population is not producing but consuming, and how to prevent that consuming population from becoming obese and unhealthy.

  9. Pasupial 10

    Some good pics and quotes in this ODT article:


    Estimated attendance was 250 (which is 100+); I was more concerned with not flipping the kayak than accurately counting the crowd at the time. There were more vessels (including the Otakou waka; Hauteruruku), plus people on a second jetty, and along the shoreline, than appears in the kayak/ surfboard human-chain photo. There was also a police car on shore, and a coast-guard launch turned up just as we were heading back onto land.

  10. jcuknz 11

    The sad thing about the Dunedin populace/pressure groupings is that they are against anything which might progess Dunedin, last one was the hullaballo over a tall hotel, now we have to stop supply ships.

    All obstruction and nothing sensible like demanding adequate precautionary measures in the event of an oil spill. Pressuring the Council to extend Dunedin airport to handle larger cargo planes carrying it.

    As I get out of bed of a morning and go downstairs I face danger, so I hold onto the bannister and have a medic alarm …. it is simply part of living.

    • Pasupial 11.1


      If I thought you were serious in your critique that Dunedinites are: “All obstruction and nothing sensible”, I’d refer you to my comment at 2.1 and invite you to consider some further points from my notes of Neville Auton’s speech. But I think you’re full of shit, so you can go to hell with Shell.

  11. jcuknz 12

    His phraseology leaves something to be desired in my book 🙂

    • Pasupial 12.1


      When you referred to people you haven’t met as “dedicated fruitcakes” [], you lost all credibility in terms of phraseology. I regard your comments with mere disdain at this point. If you persist in smearing your fecal words on the wall of this thread in any further attempt to reduce the discussion to your toilet graffiti level of discourse; I might have to abandon the restraint I’ve so far employed when replying.

      [lprent: Don’t worry about it. If you lose too much restraint then I will impose some. 😈

      Of course the restraint I tend to impose tends towards the draconian. ]

  12. Corokia 13

    The waka Hauteruruku is from Puketeraki Runaka NOT Otakau!

    • Pasupial 13.1


      My Apologies; it was difficult to make notes in the rain before the paper sogged-up (the Kai Tahu hapu; te Runanga o Otakou, seemed like a safe bet). You can see the waka and more of the protest (even me; though it’d be inconsistent with pseudynmity to say where) in this youtube clip:

  13. jcuknz 14

    Dedicated is a a term acknowledging their commitment … fruitcake is a term describing my view of their beliefs.
    Years ago opossibly before you left home or even born I was a protester myself taking my yacht out into the channel to anchor out of the channel beside where an American warship was going to steam.
    My crew and I were wearing white coveralls, my normal attire back then when sailing.

    Unfortunately a group of thugs in a fiss-boat kept on getting in my way contrary to marine regulations. I assume they were plain clothed police and that the person controlling the boat was thought by my crew to be the polytechnic tutor in marine matters who should have known better.
    I was under sail only.

    I was aware of the harbourmaster’s instruction to shipping to stay out of the channel and as a law abiding marine user it was my intention to do just that except the thugs and their driver obstructed me without identifying themselves or asking what I intended to do.

    The funny thing about the situation was it wasn’t until afterwards that my crew told me that ‘white’ was the Greenpeace protestors colour/clothing which had escaped me.

    Back at my mooring we watched as the ship followed by a whole fleet of small craft.

    So I appreciate your dedication but seriously question the point and sense of what you are doing.

    Been there done that as the saying goes.

  14. Pasupial 15

    This is an interview from Monday evening that I missed at the time:


    The Day of the Auton, isn’t as fearsome a thing as; The Terror of the Spearhead from Space, would have us believe. Although I might begin to get worried if he starts talking about how the Nestene consciousness is instructing him with space-science on how to use pine oil to make plastic that can be shaped into creepily lifelike mannikins.

    No sign of that yet. Though I do wish that the local channel had displayed a few of his graphs and diagrams from Saturday. They do good work on a tight budget, got to hope that public broadcasting is a priority for the next government.

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