Stunning nature

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, May 27th, 2017 - 31 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, energy, Environment, Mining, peak oil - Tags: , , , ,

Director of Greenpeace Russell Norman said recently that if we want to prevent the worst of climate change we can’t afford to burn the fossil fuels we already have access to, so why go look for more?

Gareth Hughes from the Green Party was in Te Anau last month talking to locals and checking out the area within the newly released Western Southland Basin oil exploration block. He made a short video,

I disagree with Hughes about the tourism angle. Industrial tourism is also a threat to the environment. Directly from development and indirectly (thus far) from climate change, to which tourism is a contributor not just from international flights, but from internal travel and infrastructure and resource use. Nature deserves to be protected for its own sake. We put it at risk when we frame the protection around something as transient as the tourism industry.

But the general gist is that we have to protect these places and we have to stop burning fossil fuels. They go hand in hand.

The Western Southland Basin block map is here. The area butts up against the south east edge of Lake Te Anau and takes in the Te Anau Basin, the lower reaches of the Waiau River, and a big chunk of the plains north of Invercargill that includes the catchments of the Aparima, Oreti and Makarewa Rivers . You can scroll around the area in this map.

So what’s the risk here? Energy Minister Judith Collins says that no oil exploration is allowed close to a National Park or World Heritage Area. Which is technically kind of true, in that Lake Te Anau itself isn’t part of Fiordland National Park. That’s alright then Judith.

One of the things that stands out for me is the sheer amount of water in the area. Not only is there Lake Te Anau and the Waiau River, but the Southland Plains are essentially a system of creeks and rivers and remnant wetlands.

There’s more to understand here. Where are the likely places to be drilled? Will there be fracking? Where are the earthquake faults and what are the risks? Will Southlanders have choices about what happens under their land? What consents and permits will be needed from local authorities and is there a conflict between that and council investments in fossil fuels and the push to divest? Who would pay for environmental damage? Would it be fixable?

Are there conflicts between being a pro-exploration council and Environment Southland’s intended Southland Water and Land Plan?

This Plan recognises the national significance of Te Mana o te Wai, which puts the mauri (inherent health) of the waterbody and its ability to provide for te hauora o te tangata (the health of the people), te hauora o te taiao (health of the environment) and te hauora o te wai (the health of the waterbody) to the forefront of freshwater management.

Ultimately the issue centres on the point of tension between saving the places we love as we move to zero carbon, and the last but potentially vicious gasps from a dying fossil fuel industry and the people who support money over life. Will Southland be deemed unviable or will it become a battleground as fossil fuels become harder and harder to source? How much energy will get wasted in that battle is also a concern, and how long do we have to keep litigating these matters when the climate change storm is already on our doorsteps?

For those that don’t know the Deep South, here are some of the more picturesque parts of Southland that are within the oil exploration block.

Rakatu Wetlands

Fishing on the Waiau River

Te Waewae Bay and lower Waiau River area

Upper Aparima River (photo Zsuzsanna Worth)

 

31 comments on “Stunning nature”

  1. Foreign waka 1

    I don’t understand this government. NZ is (has) a couple of islands. We cannot afford to become another Nauru.
    Now we have farmers who belief all of the land is theirs, including the water that runs through it. Next are corps in line who take the water that does not run trough farmland at no cost and sell it back to us (the irony should not go amiss). Now the rest of the land and surrounding sea that is close to conservation or even under protection is considered for mining and oil drilling.
    Either NZ is close to bankruptcy and no one is willing to tell anybody or it finally can permanently install a banjo player at each international airport. Something does not make sense. I belief it is time that the next generation sets the standard because the old guard runs out of ideas, hung up in the “good ol’ days” where the cans of beer flew out the windows of cars with black smoke coming out the exhaust whilst driving through the countryside.

    Te Anau area for Oil drilling/mining? I cannot belief the stupidity, it just is mind blowing – absolute gobsmacked. Who ever proposes this needs to be removed from office.

  2. So shortsighted so criminal. These politicans and their exploitative mates deserve our contempt.

  3. Jenny Kirk 3

    Totally agree with you all. I cannot understand this govt either – its lunacy at its worst.
    We have battles against similar proposals up here in the north ….. ours are not on National Parks or fiords – but will have the same devastating effects throughout the region. It’s like this govt is just selling up/ leasing out/ getting rid of everything that is Aotearoa-New Zealand in a desperate attempt before the election.

  4. Tautoko Mangō Mata 4

    Tell everyone you know about this. Show them the map*. Ask them is this OK with them? This is what the protest (which I attended) was about at New Plymouth Mar 22- the NAct govt opening its block offer for 2017 at the oil conference.
    National MUST be voted out. AOTEAROA IS NOT FOR SALE.

    Block Offer 2017 tender opened
    22 March 2017
    Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins has opened the Block Offer 2017 tender for petroleum exploration permits.

    Block Offer 2018 Nominations are now open
    22 March 2017
    Minister of Energy and Resources Judith Collins has opened industry nominations for Block Offer 2018.

    https://www.nzpam.govt.nz/

    *Map link
    http://data.nzpam.govt.nz/permitwebmaps?commodity=petroleum

  5. saveNZ 5

    Totally agree we should be preserving the environment for it’s own sake.

    If the government does want to put everything in money terms, here’s a good perspective from Rayon Kan, with the wise perspective, water is more important than oil, “lets see who get’s thirsty first”.

    Raybon Kan: Let’s drink to the wealth we’ve ignored

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11818830

    If our government insists on polluting our water supplies and then pay industry to ‘unpollute’ it or pay a private company to buy back our own water in a plastic bottle. That’s the National way. Take public assets, privatise, sell back worse resource, at profit.

  6. It’s possible to drill sideways,up to 12km from the entry point. Not setting up rigs in National Parks? Set them up on the periphery. Already, the regional council is fully engaged in “holding the line” with water quality. How will adding high-use gas and oil extraction processes help that?

  7. millsy 7

    A saving grace is that with low oil prices, I doubt that oil companies will think there is enough of the black stuff down there to profitably extract.

    National has thrown the gates open, and promised a tidal wave of cash because the oil men will turn up, make a pin prick, and texas tea will come squirting out.

    The few oil people that came drilled and couldn’t find anything worth getting out.

    I would go out on a limb and say that the only profitable wells in the country are already in production.

    There is supposedly a huge shitload of oil south of Steward Island, but there hasnt been any takers to drill it, probably because the costs of getting it are too high.

    • weka 7.1

      You might be right about Southland, but I think the concern is that once the pressure is on from dwindling easy access supplies, the consents are already in place. Plus exploration is not a benign activity even if they never get to extraction. And then we have to do all the protest and activism just in case.

  8. Drowsy M. Kram 8

    The National Party had several failed runs at asset sales before they finally got the numbers (and a popular figurehead) required to ram them through without serious political damage. What needs to be highlighted is that, despite promises in the last election campaign, public asset sales have continued.

    The TPPA is still a live issue – there is enough voter uncertainty about its value to NZers (and it is firmly associated with the discredited Key) for the NZ left parties to pull some votes – National will just keep hammering away.

    Likewise with extractive industries in areas that should be left alone. In 2010 the Nats under Key had an early run at mining in conservation land.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/3309721/Outrage-as-Key-signals-national-park-mining

    And because most voters forget and/or are easily distracted, National and their very wealthy mates will just keep trying:

    “Because they loved their money more than anything in the whole world.”

    • saveNZ 8.1

      Exactly, a vote for National and the Maori party is a vote for TPPA and putting NZ future into the hands of international business courts and off shore corporations.

      It’s crazy unless, you are a Nat. Even most Natz supporters don’t see anything good in TPPA and that was when the USA was there!

      Offshore corporations are not buying the exports, they are buying the assets. Why buy the milk, when you can buy the farm?

      Look what has happened with Cadbury and Silver Fern farms. Lay offs and plant closures. That is what we have to look forward to, under the National government.

  9. What are Māori saying about this – there are strong Māori down there who are kaitiaki – any links appreciated – on phone so not so easy to search and so on.

    • Ngai Tahu have developed huge dairy farms on on sensitive Canterbury soils where plantation forests once grew. They’re seemingly keen to establish marine farms in the fiords.
      Go figure…

      • marty mars 9.1.1

        Go figure what

        • Robert Guyton 9.1.1.1

          The meaning of kaitiakitanga.

          • marty mars 9.1.1.1.1

            What do you know that you think Kāi Tahu and the rūnanga don’t?

            • Robert Guyton 9.1.1.1.1.1

              I think it’s possible for any person, anywhere to connect with kaitiakitanga, if they have the nature for it. I measure the actions of others against my own standard and it’s one that I work on constantly, refining and testing it against the actions and words of others. Do you think, Marty, that it’s possible for someone to know more about dairy farming, soil types, the effects of nitrates on the environment etc, than do the Kai Tahu decision-makers? My feelings about converting arid land in Canterbury to irrigated dairy farms are not the same as theirs, it seems, therefore I have concerns.

              • No, just because someone says they know what kaitiakitanga is doesn’t mean that they do. It is arrogance for someone to think they know better because? It fits into their view of the word or their worldview in general. Your measure is just that – your one, no better or worse than another.

                I also worry about the avatar/Celtic – you poor dim natives don’t worry follow us we know the way and can help you because it looks like you don’t even know what is good for yourself.

                Your final point is interesting – ‘know’ relates to context. Yes in a holistic cultural interelatedness context Kāi Tahu people could ‘know’ more than a scientist or keen reader.

                • weka

                  I have some concerns about what Ngāi Tahu Holdings are doing myself, but I think what you two are arguing about is cultural differences in how kaitiakitanga is understood. Personally I don’t think Pākehā should be using that term through their own cultural framework, we have other words we can use to good effect.

                  I also am less inclined to go as hard out critical against NTH, or Kāi Tahu at least, as I am against tau iwi diary companies, given Kāi Tahu are still trying to re-establish wellbeing for their people after a really long period of colonisation. So, sure let’s criticise the business side for industrial dairy, but I don’t see how Kāi Tahu are any more responsible for that than say Southlanders are for the actions (or inactions) of Environment Southland 😉 (That’s not an exact comparison obviously, but a point made).

                  “because it looks like you don’t even know what is good for yourself.”

                  I think Kāi Tahu excels at looking after its people. There is also a conflict between that and some environmental concerns. In some ways I don’t see it as too different from the conflict between Pākehā ecological types and Pākehā society, but I think there are things there for Pākehā to learn esp in regards to how to look after people first. Pākehā NZ failing on both fronts except for small enclaves.

                  • For me it sounds like – yes we in the west have used all the resources and polluted to ensure our middle class lifestyles are maintained and yes we accept the human slave labour and misery as a cost others have had to pay for us to have our stuff – but the utter temerity of you third world peoples wanting the same stuff as us now and putting the whole world at risk through pollution and other bad things, well it disgusts me, you are selfish.

                    I dont agree with more dairy farms and if we to have them then small ones suit me and if not then a group that publically commits to best environmental practice and monitoring is what we can get, then okay. Much better than the current environmental approach of many industrial farmers.

                  • That’s fair, weka, my language was loose. I meant those in Ngai Tahu who made the decision to develop those dairy farms. I wasn’t meaning to include pakiaka harakeke and others in the claim.

                • No? Sweet, I’ll not use the word, “kaitiakitanga” because it’s a Maori word – presumably I oughtn’t to use any Maori word at all, given I’m tauiwi not Māori an indigenous person of these islands. Makes communication difficult though and means my years of interest in and learning of te reo Māori indigenous New Zealander language are somewhat redundant now. Hei aha! whatever, so be it. Still, I do know something of dairying and water quality issues, so as long as I don’t mention Ngai Tahu the dominant South Island iwi tribe, I’ll perhaps have something to contribute to the discussion.

                  • weka

                    Are you talking to marty or me? Because that’s not what I said at all.

                    • Sorry, weka, yes, I was addressing, vainly I expect, Marty. I don’t expect to make much progress, as Marty’s views seem to be loaded heavily and triggered easily, creating some weighty and complex responses to simple ideas; nothing wrong with that, of course, but I’m not of a mind to argue with someone whose opinion I respect.

                  • It’s not what I said either

                    • Okay then. On “kaitiakitanga” you said:
                      “Your measure is just that – your one, no better or worse than another.”

                      I don’t hold to that idea. I believe there are people with views and behaviours that are bringing the ecosystem we rely upon crashing down around us and at the same time there are those whose behaviour is attempting to do the opposite; that is, some humans are actively trying to restore the damage done and enliven the physical environment. Whether that makes one group “better or worse than another” is moot, but I know which group I strive to be part of.
                      Also…
                      I said, “I think it’s possible for any person, anywhere to connect with kaitiakitanga, if they have the nature for it. ”
                      and you responded;
                      “No, just because someone says they know what kaitiakitanga is doesn’t mean that they do.”
                      I think your most recent comment at 1:31pm applies.

                    • I am not interested in a Barney with you Robert.

                      However I do want to say

                      People thinking they know what’s best for others and nature, whether their intention be good or evil, are the cause of many of our problems.

  10. Who then, marty, should make a call? No one?

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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago

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