Bad and good

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.

Yesterday’s Southland Times devoted its whole front page to telling the story – consortium backs $200m basin well –  and followed up with enthusiastic welcome for drill plan.

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.

6 Responses to Bad and good

  1. TraceyS says:

    The mayor suggests mining is the “past wave” and we need to focus on knowledge-based businesses. But mining IS a knowledge-based business coupled with a production base. Engineers, geologists, managers, planners, surveyors, environmental officers, mechanics and other trades staff – all knowledge-workers by my book. How many knowledge-based businesses are not related to a production base? Invermay for example?


  2. Mr E says:

    Im thinking:
    Dune – a mound or ridge of sand or other loose sediment formed by the wind, especially on the sea coast or in a desert
    Din – a loud, unpleasant, and prolonged noise.


    Invercargill – They city of water light (and oil).

    Plus We’ve got Tim who could sell ice to Eskimos. You’ve got no show. Give up now.


  3. Mr E says:


    Inver – the mouth of a river; an estuary.
    Car – a road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal-combustion engine and able to carry a small number of people
    Gill – the paired respiratory organ of fish and some amphibians, by which oxygen is extracted from water flowing over surfaces within or attached to the walls of the pharynx.

    Whats more attractive? – A car swimming out the mouth of a river? Or a noisy desert?

    Dunedin – Pfft.


  4. TraceyS says:

    Yes Dunedin has competion. Also true for so-called knowledge-based businesses. If you can base your business anywhere, there is stiff competition within Otago alone. I was given a tour of new residential development in Wanaka recently. Amazed that one subdivision of 60 odd sections had sold so quickly I asked what do all the people do for work? A large number were knowledge-worker commuters or telecommuters. In these times technology means we don’t have to locate physically close to a University or main centre. Therefore beggars cannot be choosers. In Dunedin we should throw our arms wide open to any and all opportunities.


  5. JRM. SAYs .It is not suprising when the attidude of Mayor Cull and Councilors MacTavish and others are so against use of oil and progress generally .Going to cycles and public transport paid by rates, and not encouraging progress at all


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