web analytics

The strange case of the astroturfed Energy Voices organisation

Written By: - Date published: 3:34 pm, November 13th, 2018 - 18 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, internet, Media, national, same old national, sustainability, twitter - Tags:

Recently a new organisation, New Zealand Energy Voices appeared.  It was apparently spontaneously formed by disaffected kiwis railing up against the tyranny of eventually, eventually stopping off shore drilling for oil and gas, just after all the existing oil and gas wells have expired.

The entity’s goals were superficially laudible sounding:

Energy Voices will give affected workers and families a chance to have their say. So far, they haven’t been heard. They face an uncertain future and they deserve a voice.

The process has been rushed and the evidence ignored. This campaign will provide balance.

Energy Voices will explain the serious damage this policy could have on New Zealand’s economy.

Thousands of jobs could be lost. The New Zealand government will miss out on many billions of dollars in royalties and taxes.  That money could help us build a better future for Kiwi families.

At the same time, ending offshore exploration will do nothing to reduce global emissions or help the environment. We won’t use any less oil or natural gas; it just means we will have to import it more expensively from overseas.

And it was up front about the entity behind the website:

PEPANZ  – the Petroleum Exploration & Production Association of New Zealand – has started the Energy Voices campaign to give those directly impacted the chance to be heard, to raise awareness of the negative impacts, and to build public support for restoring offshore exploration for oil and natural gas.

But, and imagine my shock when I discovered this, there are National Party links to the people behind the entity.

Ben Guerin is the contact person for the URL and, at least recently, a senior social media advisor for the National Party.

He has come to the attention of authors on the Standard in the past with lprent describing him as a pathetic young nat dickhead.

He has also been fingered for doctoring the Jacinda Ardern video that was then offered as proof that she had said there would be no strikes under Labour when she said no such thing.

Of course he is free to ply his trade.  And if they wanted to hide his identity it would have been so easy to do this.

But the media should be careful about any organisations seeking media time formed to represent grassroots interests.  And Guerin’s claims should always be taken with a grain of salt.

18 comments on “The strange case of the astroturfed Energy Voices organisation ”

  1. Bruce 1

    Hope you dont mind but i shared your post with them. Its on my facebook feed everyday. They must have good funding and a real fear for their future and plenty of commenters to rebut any contrary comments.

    • tc 1.1

      Goes without saying they’re well funded.

      It’s National cuddling up to the oil industry in a DP playbook move….leopards and spots.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Interesting space to watch, for sure. Easy to dismiss as fossil fuel addicts, even if not obviously partisan, but I’m giving them credit on a single point. If this government does not have a robust plan for eliminating oil imports, the lobby group will target that weakness. To early to know, while we await the design and writing of the legislation resulting from the long consulting process led by the climate change minister.

    So I suspect the lobby group is targeting the likelihood that collusion between public servants involved, Labour & NZF will prevail over the Greens. Pragmatic oil import dependency instead of a resilient design for sustainable independence. It’s a gamble for them. If the legislation turns out to be an authentic path to sustainability, they’ll die on their vine…

    • tc 2.1

      IMO they’ll do no such thing even if it’s ‘an authentic path to sustainability…’ which would be great if it was.

      It’s not there to be reasonable it’s there to push oil and gas industry interests i.e. consumption.

      ‘the lobby group will target that weakness…’ or make some up as DP players do, manufacture consent etc

    • Anne 2.2

      Uggh Dennis Frank? Do you honestly believe the likes of this Ben Guerin – so aptly described by lprent as a “pathetic young Nat dickhead” would be able to work out a sophisticated strategy such as you are proposing. Don’t think so.

      Of course he might just be the front man/boy in which case you may be right. 🙂

      • Dennis Frank 2.2.1

        No Anne, I was assuming he was obviously inconsequential, so there must be other players in this game acting on behalf of the industry, perhaps also the Nats. This kind of operation never even gets off the ground if there’s only a young dickhead driving it…

    • McFlock 2.3

      Trouble is, I suspect that the goal is more to sow alarm and despondency than to exploit or improve genuine weakness and hold the government accountable.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.3.1


        This association is just a vehicle to increase the power of the petroleum industry through fear and lies.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.4

      If this government does not have a robust plan for eliminating oil imports, the lobby group will target that weakness.

      Renewable electricity with the generators made from our own resources. No need for imports at all.

      Thing is, it’s also the only option we have unless we want to go back to the stone age.

  3. A 3

    Googled “energy voice”.

    Looks like its a well utilized industry term to the degree that it appears this new lobby group is basically the industry.

  4. Bruce 4

    There are just so many opportunities for those willing to look at a sustainable future but these guys are tied to out dated technology and see progression to a sustainable future as a threat to their future profits.
    Many of the monied also think their dollars will protect their life style, as in the Alaska / NZ post.
    Then the are the huge numbers of downright denialists as seen by mainstream acceptance of a waterfront underwater polo stadium.
    Hemp oil and bio fuel , fuel from waste all offer opportunities for employment and a sustainable future but there does not seem much progression being made.
    Here is another solution I’ve shared elsewhere .

    • gsays 4.1

      That looks cool Bruce.
      The amateur in me sees its Achilles heel as moving parts, the pulleys, the slide, the cables….
      Also the friction occurring in those moving parts means inefficiencies.

    • Dennis Frank 4.2

      Yeah Bruce, simple design but effective, depending on the conversion ratio. No efficiency rating was cited, as far as I could see. Do you know the percentage?

      • xanthe 4.2.1

        The cited 90% round trip efficiency

        • Dennis Frank

          Well, if others validate that claim via replication, the thing is a winner. Our govt ought to build one as part of a feasibility study. Any engineers onsite here to offer an opinion?

          • xanthe

            hmm interestingly electric motors of the standard 4 pole induction type in larger powers are quoted as 95.4% efficient which gives an electrical efficiency of 95.4 * 95.4 or round trip 91% ( i am confident that modern permanent magnet motors are better than this figure) if you think about it a bit of wire rope winding onto a drum is about as efficient as you can get!

            then there is of course the power conversion, inverters, and transmission lines which probably do take us below 90% . however the concept is incredibly simple and does not involve any exotic technological advances that we haven’t made yet .

  5. Jum 5

    ‘He has also been fingered for doctoring the Jacinda Ardern video that was then offered as proof that she had said there would be no strikes under Labour when she said no such thing.’

    Isn’t that something NZ security forces should be looking into as being an orchestrated attack on the person of the Prime Minister i.e. treason?

    If not, why not?

    Why hasn’t the media been all over this?

    • Dennis Frank 5.1

      Judicious editing to create a particular impression isn’t a crime. You’re right about it being an orchestrated attack though. The reason the media haven’t been all over it is that it is part of normal media process.

      My career in television required me to do this. Whether it involves making ads for tv or news & current affairs, the editor crafts the product to suit the client. You’ll be wondering where the public interest comes in. Through the margins. The public are stakeholders, but weakly so. No leverage. Did any of my clients cross the ethical line? Sometimes, usually not blatantly so.

      Partisanship is more often tacit than overt in the media, in my experience. I don’t recall a single instance that provoked my conscience into enduring anger – the line-crossing was rarely seriously concerning. More what they nowadays call spin. Any proposal that looked like fakery, misrepresentation, or a blatant attempt to make propaganda as news, and I would have laid a complaint.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Fast-tracked Northland water project will accelerate economic recovery
    The Government has welcomed the decision to approve a new water storage reservoir in Northland, the first of a number of infrastructure projects earmarked for a speedy consenting process that aims to accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19.  The Matawii Water Storage Reservoir will provide drinking water for Kaikohe, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago