Yesterday’s ODT led with the bad news of job losses at Macraes mine.
That’s followed up by today’s story of more job losses in firms which service and supply the mine.
Yesterday’s paper also had the good news story of Shell’s decision to drill in the Great South Basin.
This is how life goes. Good things happen during bad times and bad things happen during better times.
But the outlook for those people who have lost jobs or business because of Oceana Gold’s slow-down at Macraes is better now the economy is improving than it would have been even a year ago.
It would be better still if Dunedin was showing a warmer welcome to Shell.
The city is vying with Invercargill to be Shell’s base and mayor Dave Cull is at best lukewarm:
. . . Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull – who remained personally opposed to the increasingly difficult search for fossil fuels – said he was nevertheless ”cautiously optimistic” the city could benefit from Shell’s plans.
He was encouraged the company was prepared to invest up to $200 million in its search for natural gas, and not oil, off the city’s coast.
However, with the test drill not scheduled until 2016, and any full-scale extraction – if it eventuated – a decade away, he cautioned against too much excitment, too soon.
”What comes out of it, in terms of job creation and business and economic development, will depend on the size of what they find.
”If they are going to be drilling, this is pretty good, and clearly Dunedin is very well placed to offer the services and facilities that they might need,” he said. . .
Two councillors are even less enthusiastic:
. . . including Cr Aaron Hawkins, who said the council had a ”moral obligation” to protect the interests of future generations.
”I don’t think it’s fair to clamour over a few jobs now and leave our grandchildren to pick up the tab environmentally and economically.
”Frankly, I think that’s a very selfish way of looking at economic development.”
Cr Jinty MacTavish agreed, saying the city would not spend money to try to attract the ”unethical” tobacco industry, and should avoid the oil and gas industry for the same reasons.
”It’s an unethical business and I wouldn’t like to see Dunedin setting out to attract it.” . . .
Contrast this with the reaction from Invercargill.
Today’s story is headlined drilling holds promise of job bonanza.
Shell will make its decision on where it’s based on a variety of factors, one of which will be the attitude of the city.
In good times and bad, you have to do what you can to help yourself.
Invercargill is doing that, Dunedin must do better.