Standing up for Otago

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull’s campaign to Stand Up Otago has gone quiet with his less than enthusiastic response to the news that Shell plans to drill for oil and gas in the Great South Basin.

But Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher is happy to stand up for jobs.

Anadarko is due to start exploratory deep-sea drilling in the next few weeks, and Mr Kircher said yesterday’s meeting had provided a chance to ensure that safeguards were taken to protect the environment, as well as a chance to ensure the district was well placed to take advantage of any opportunities that could arise.

”The potential is absolutely enormous for our region. Oil and gas has transformed the Taranaki region, bringing prosperity, jobs and opportunities for the whole area. Test results indicate that the area being tested off Otago may have much greater reserves than Taranaki.

”I was elected on the basis of growing our economy in the Waitaki district and I see this as a major possible game-changer for us all.

”Even if the production is based in Dunedin, the flow-on effects for our district will be significant.”

He said he would always be willing to listen to any concerns people might have about oil and gas exploration.

”I represent our district and will do what I can to pass on those concerns and ensure they are dealt with properly.” . . .

Otago won’t be as strong as it should be if Dunedin is weak.

The jobs and economic growth that would flow from Shell basing its exploration in Dunedin would benefit the whole province.

This prospect has its detractors but there’s more than a little hypocrisy in their protests as these letters to the editor in the weekend ODT says:

The front page article (ODT, 13.1.14) regarding the small group of protesters who want to block the offshore drilling by Anadarko gave prominence to an incredibly small proportion of the Dunedin population; as such it did not deserve front page positioning. That said it was interesting to note these people who wish to limit oil exploration were using boats and boards, wetsuits and probably vehicles to get to Port Chalmers, all of which need petroleum products in their manufacture.

This group would carry a greater message if they used wooden canoes, dressed in wool, and used cork as their flotation aid. If this group want alternatives why can’t they come up with bright ideas and interesting conversations, not protests and negativity? R.J. McKenzie.

Oh the irony of the Oil Free Otago rent-a-mob pictured on the front page. Virtually every object and action in your pictures of the so-called protesters is ultimately derived from the use of fossil fuels – including the PVC jackets, neoprene wetsuits, plastic kayaks, the paint on the banners to the smart phones and computers used to organise the mob. It even appears as though the majority of protesters travelled to Port Chalmers from Dunedin in private motor cars and one wonders how much fossil fuel was burnt in travelling to Dunedin by participants in the Oil Free Future Summit. When will these people learn that in every single moment of every day everybody uses something that is either drilled or mined and that include the alternative future technologies so beloved of the rent-a-mob. The alternative is the Stone-Age. Peter Dymock.

Anti-tobacco lobbyists who smoked would have no credibility, anti-progress protesters who use the fuels against which the rail and provide no alternatives for sustainable growth are little better.

Waitaki’s mayor understands the importance of economic growth in the region and is standing up for Otago, I’m not sure Dunedin’s does and is.

48 Responses to Standing up for Otago

  1. robertguyton says:

    Kircher says:
    “I represent our district and will do what I can to pass on those concerns and ensure they are dealt with properly.”
    Empty words, I reckon. Just how does he propose to “ensure that they (the concerns of opponents to the drilling) are dealt with properly?


  2. Dave Kennedy says:

    Drilling for oil or gas in difficult seas at a depth 13 times greater than Taranaki would mean there should be a greater level of contingency planning. I would be interested to know what those plans are and what extra resources Maritime New Zealand has been supplied with to ensure a timely response in the event of even a minor leak or accident. As Robert has suggested there seems to be a great effort to silences those who voice concerns by questioning their motives and philosophies and ignoring their real concerns.


  3. robertguyton says:

    Ele’s pushing, pushing, pushing the ‘oil-users can’t criticise oil-extractors’ line, a line fed to her by her National Party advisors, but it’s a nonsense, nothing more than an attempt to discredit what are in fact thoughtful New Zealanders with reasonable concerns such as those Dave has described above. It is awkward for any protester to find that they are compromised by their use of oil and its derivatives, but that’s unavoidable. If the only people who can put forward objections are those who’s lives have never involved petroleum, then there can be none and if Ele believes that not one single New Zealander should criticise oil extraction here in our own country, then she is deluded or, if she knows her position is that of a bully trying to shut-out her fellow countrymen and women from having their rightful say, then it’s shameful.
    So, which is it, Ele?


  4. TraceyS says:

    “It is awkward for any protester to find that they are compromised by their use of oil and its derivatives…”

    Thank you for acknowledging this, Robert.

    However, I am very concerned that you do not seem to fully appreciate the central importance of oil to activism and protesting.

    Any successful attempts to artificially limit supply will make activism and protesting more expensive, and therefore less accessible, especially to those on lower incomes. Isn’t this a bit, well, defeatist?

    Now if oil was the only thing wrong in the world, you might call the job done.

    But oil isn’t the only important issue on the planet. And if oil costs more, so will everything else, including activism.

    One day only the rich will be able to afford to protest.


  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    “And if oil costs more, so will everything else, including activism.”

    Not necessarily, Tracey. we currently have the technology and scientific knowledge to remove ourselves from oil dependence. We are set up to largely run on oil because the will to start a transition to other alternatives doesn’t really exist, it’s as simple as that. Change can’t happen immediately there has to be a well planned strategy, but this government has none. When asked in parliament about the Government’s strategy to become less reliant on oil, Bill English stated that there was no such planning, market forces will decide. We need better leadership than that.

    Most other OECD countries are well ahead of us in switching to renewables and supporting transport systems that are less reliant on oil. Building more motorways when traffic volumes are dropping is a nonsense.


  6. Andrei says:

    we currently have the technology and scientific knowledge to remove ourselves from oil dependence.

    If “we” have this knowledge why don’t you start deploying it because if it works as you say then you will end up a very rich man if you do.

    What’s stopping you?


  7. robertguyton says:

    Our protests are about proposed drilling here in New Zealand. Globally, they are not needed. Surely you are not of the ‘peak oil’ school, Tracey? There’s plenty of oil out there in the wider world, isn’t there? Fracking has opened a whole new supply of oil and gas that will last forever, won’t it? There’s no need to drill here. The returns to NZ are minor, relatively, and highly debatable. We can trade for oil from overseas – you do support trade, don’t you, Tracey? The inability of the Government and the oil companies to manage a serious spill, should one happen, must surely bother you though, mustn’t it? Despite the ‘it’ll never happen’ claims from Government and industry, you do recognise, that the provisions for that possible eventuality are very, very lacking, don’t you?
    I wonder what might have been achieved had the money our Government has thrown at the oil industry had been deployed into the development of more appropriate jobs, here in New Zealand – jobs that employed New Zealanders, that enhanced and diversified our economic base, industries that increased our well-being, our independence, our social cohesion, our sense of worth, God help us, even our environment!!!
    Nope, attracting the oil-drillers was deemed more important. Extractors are takers, oil-companies are exploiters and this particular Government and those individuals, like yourself who cheer them on, are drawn to them as you share a common world view.
    That said, I reckon it’s a storm in a basin. They’ll won’t drill out there in the Great South. That’s why I stayed home and tended my carrots. Better investment of time.


  8. robertguyton says:

    I suspect it’s because he’s not a greedy man, Andrei.


  9. robertguyton says:

    The rich don’t protest, Tracey. They buy influence.


  10. robertguyton says:

    “Anti-tobacco lobbyists who smoked would have no credibility”

    John Key, who supported Sue Bradford’s ‘anti-smacking bill, has been schmoozing Colin Craig, who is stridently anti the bill, so must by your definition, Ele, lack credibility.


  11. TraceyS says:

    You assume that Dave would be greedy if he were rich. What a low opinion!

    I am certain that if Dave became rich he would use his money in a very good way.


  12. Dave Kennedy says:

    “If “we” have this knowledge why don’t you start deploying it because if it works as you say then you will end up a very rich man if you do.”

    Andrei, you only have to travel overseas to realize that most European countries have electrified their public transport systems and have discouraged the use of cars in their inner cities. There is now a Formula E (electric) racing car series and electric dragsters are challenging traditional ones. A car has even even been designed in France that largely runs on compressed air.

    Sadly this Government is more enthusiastic to subsidise oil exploration than look at green alternatives. If we want to wean ourselves of oil but still run our current transport fleet, fuel can actually be made out of the waste form our forest industry andd there are trails in Southland to use the methane emitted from dairy ponds into useable fuel.

    It is not a case of getting rich on anyone thing but allowing very economic alternatives to exist alongside oil. It is the government that decides which industries that they support and subsidise and they are currently doing it for oil and coal. This is back to the future stuff.


  13. TraceyS says:

    If you are correct then it’s an even more undesirable outcome, ie. poor can’t afford to protest, meanwhile rich have all the influence.

    Remember you have acknowledged that protesters cannot extricate themselves from the necessity of oil (and this explains why they don’t).

    But, as Dave has pointed out, it would not be impossible to do so. It is simply a matter of having enough time, money, or both.

    Let’s take wetsuits as an example. A full-length women’s wetsuit made of Neoprene (Polychloroprene) from butadiene – a hydrocarbon derivative – will cost around NZ$170.

    The oil-free alternative, made from a limestone derivative, costs around NZ$545. I wonder how many of the suits appearing at beach protests are made of this material?

    It is obvious why there would be few, if any. The price. This is representative of the same dilemma all of us face whether we are protesting or undertaking activities essential to getting by in daily life.

    “Cheap” oil is not preventing alternatives. It is people refusing to pay more for the eco-friendly alternative, which performs the same function, perhaps less well. That behaviour is common to people whether they are for oil exploration or against. And it is perfectly rational in my view.

    So Bill is correct if he said market forces will decide. They are deciding.

    If protesters don’t like the market deciding then they must work against it. But there is ample proof in this irony/hypocrisy debate that they don’t and probably won’t.


  14. TraceyS says:

    So, Dave, don’t you think that increasing our wealth as a country through exploiting our resources has the potential to move us towards adopting alternatives – because we can afford to? I’ve already demonstrated that wealth is critical to early adoption of alternatives as given by my wetsuit example. Only rich people would buy those eco-friendly wetsuits! I will have to stick to my Neoprene one. You?


  15. TraceyS says:

    Such analogies are “ridiculous”, Robert, you have said it yourself.

    This one is particularly so.


  16. Andrei says:

    Dave Kennedy;

    Andrei, you only have to travel overseas to realize that most European countries have electrified their public transport systems

    You don’t have to travel overseas to see this! Wellington electrified its suburban trains in the 1930s and to this day uses trolley buses. Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin all had electric trolley bus systems which they ripped out many years ago as being uneconomic.

    The Auckland rail system is being electrified at great cost and it is doubtful that this expensive project will ever pay for itself.

    Also the main trunk line in the North Island is electrified and has been for about thirty years.

    Over 100 years ago there were manufacturers of electric cars, and steam ones for that matter as well as the now conventional internal combustion engined ones. The consumers ie those who bought cars for their personal use found those with internal combustion engines more convenient, reliable and generally user friendly than the other varients and thus the manufacturers of electric cars went out of business, though not entirely – there was a place for things like electric milk floats for many years, popular because they were used to home deliver milk in the early morning hours, were silent and only used for a few hours a day and thus could be recharged when idle between use.

    Compressed air requires a compressor which has to be driven somehow and this isn’t a new idea either, there were compressed air locomotives in the 1930s but they never achieved the reliability and serviceability to become mainstream.

    There are some fancy electric cars being made today but they are expensive and rely upon government subsidy to be sold at a price that people will even consider them and even then they are expensive. As are the batteries which have a finite life and are not “eco friendly” to manufacture nor to dispose of.


  17. robertguyton says:

    Ah, but I on’t agree with Dave where he says we can remove ourselves from oil dependence (‘we’ being ‘New Zealand’). Our present society is too tightly welded to oil. Independence from it would involve massive change, not merely moving to alternatives. There is nothing like fossil hydrocarbons for energy. Societies as they are now, can’t switch to other energy forms and continue at the level of function they now enjoy. Individuals can position themselves to lead good lives but those will be ‘powered-down’ and quite different from what we presently enjoy. My objection to oil extraction is regarding climate change. Oil out is oil burned is an over-excited climate is damaging disruption to human society and to many other life forms. If you knew that firing-up a huge motor would create a change in the climate that would result in the destruction of millions of humans, you’d not do it. Turning on the motor of your car, though it represents your share of the ‘huge motor’ is not something you will refuse to do, even for the sake of those millions of people. That’s the conundrum we all face, in my view. Some people are reducing the number of ‘motors’ they turn on, in an effort to help, but our society drives us on and makes such actions very difficult to do. The reason I find the ‘drill baby drill’ attitude expressed here by Ele and you and the other orcs (don’t take offense, Tracey, it’s only left-wing humour) is that where I feel the discomfort of knowing that I’m still contributing to the problem, you actively promote it’s expansion. Hence people like Dave, who drive a car, come here and waste their time trying to sort out your thinking, and theirs, with regard this dilemma.


  18. robertguyton says:

    The ‘oil-free alternative’ to a wetsuit, btw, is no wet-suit.
    Aside from professionals who must have one, and I believe such people should be given priority with oil-derived equipment/activity, eveyrone else could ‘pass’ on the oil (No thanks, I prefer to save the planet).


  19. robertguyton says:

    Andrei – “Compressed air requires a compressor which has to be driven somehow”



  20. robertguyton says:

    Increasing our wealth by exploiting our resources…
    sad Tory thinking. Cut down more trees to save the forest.
    “You can’t be green if you’re in the red” is a cunningly worded excuse to burn the planet for temporary greed-driven gain. What it’s crafted to do, is deceive and reframe the ‘cut down more trees’ reality.


  21. robertguyton says:

    Please explain how that is.


  22. TraceyS says:

    And that is why Dave et al will not succeed. There is nothing wrong with the thinking that some say needs “sort[ed] out”.

    You are also wrong to suppose what others feel, or don’t feel, before you have asked them.


  23. TraceyS says:

    Ridiculous is difficult to explain. Maybe another time.


  24. TraceyS says:

    Dunedin, summer, no wetsuit…! 🙂


  25. robertguyton says:

    Can’t explain why Key’s actions around Sue Bradford’s bill and Colin Craig show that he lacks credibility, Tracey?
    Too busy?


  26. Dave Kennedy says:

    Andrei, The issue we have is that when there was an abundance of oil there was no need to explore the alternative technologies, just as happened in the war when petrol became in short supply, people adapted. It needs our Government to provide the incentive to change, because as you say the technology already exists to enable us to do so.


  27. robertguyton says:

    Billions of people starving from AGW-caused drought…
    Of course you should have your wetsuit, Tracey.
    that you should sacrifice something you deserve!


  28. TraceyS says:

    My wetsuit is no more responsible than your bicycle or synthetic tie collection.


  29. robertguyton says:

    That’s no argument though, for your refusal to give it up for the sake of humanity.


  30. TraceyS says:

    Instead of giving up your ties you should have hand-stitched them into a fine and colourful new suit. That would have been one less you’d need to buy at some stage in future. It’d also have made a lovely statement about resource use!


  31. robertguyton says:

    I buy my suits second-hand. Ties too. A young man staying with us presently wears hemp trousers. I’ll buy a pair of those too, if I can find some second-had. Maybe I’ll ask Nandor, though he’s not my size.


  32. Andrei says:

    New Battery May Transform Storage

    The key word here David Kennedy is may!!!!!

    And I don’t know how many science and technology stories that I have read in my life that have contained that little three letter word. And what it means is that somebody has an idea that needs work, which may or may not come to something. And in 99.9999% of the cases it turns out to be “may not” because you never hear of it again.

    And in truth the reason why so many of these stories end up being about dead ends is that they appear as stories because they are dead ends and the promoters of the theory/technology go to the press in a last ditch desparate attempt to drum up funds to keep their dying project alive just a little bit longer.

    Sorry ’bout that


  33. robertguyton says:

    I agree with Andrei – “new” technologies are not going to replace oil – nothing can. When that becomes unavailable, we are going to suffer serious decline. Dave’s looking in the right direction though – the direction away from oil-based, only he’s not recognising the magnitude of the problem. It’s massive behavioural change that’s ahead, not a change in fuels. Nothing can replace the intensity of industry/activity we enjoy now. It’s that which will change. Prepare! Repent too, if you think that will help 🙂


  34. Dave Kennedy says:

    Actually, Robert, I never said a huge change isn’t necessary, just that it is possible if we start a long term strategy now. The longer we leave it the more abrupt the change will be and many countries are well ahead of us. Kennedy Graham spent time before Christmas, after the climate conference, looking at what European countries are doing. Here is what he said about Denmark:


  35. J Bloggs says:

    To be honest, I’m more concerned about how we are pissing away our global finite supply of helium in party balloon kits. Petrochemicals can be synthesised, but there ain’t no easy way of making more helium.


  36. robertguyton says:

    Don’t fret, Joe. There’s plenty for everyone and more being produced every minute.
    “The helium that is in the atmosphere comes from alpha particles emitted by radioactive decay. In places that have a lot of uranium ore, natural gas tends to contain high concentrations of helium (up to 7 percent). This makes sense, since the decay of uranium emits lots of alpha particles and a natural gas pocket tends to be a sealed container underground.
    Helium is cryogenically distilled out of natural gas to produce the helium we put in balloons.”


  37. J Bloggs says:

    Robert, that’s the point – Helium is produced by natural reactions, and cannot easily be synthesised. Its also one of the few elements, that once its released into the environment it disappears out into space (i.e. it’s non-recoverable). Once the helium is gone, it’s gone. There may be plenty now, but there’s no guarantee there will be much in the future. If there is any resource that needs management to ensure steady supply, it’s helium.


  38. Paranormal says:

    And there is no proof that AGW has caused drought. In fact, if you believed in this AGW scam, there is consensus it is good for mankind. Go figure. see item 4.

    Regardless of all that, in geological terms we’re headed to the next ice age anyway.


  39. Paranormal says:

    Break out your billboard RG – the end of the world is nigh.

    Yet again though you’re wrong. The issue we have is not energy – it’s the transportable storage of energy that is the issue. Science, real science, not that consensus sort, will make a difference. Fortunately in the meantime we’ve got plenty of oil to keep us going whilst the research is underway.


  40. robertguyton says:

    I’m never going to use helium again, Joe. That’s how committed I am to conserving finite resources. However, you say there’s plenty now, and there seems to be uranium to burn, so I wonder what makes you worry that we’ll run out. It’s not as though people are travelling to work and back every day by blimp.


  41. TraceyS says:

    My wetsuit will be handed on to my niece or daughter when I am finished with it. Your second-hand ties and suits were bought new by somebody – or they’d not be available for you to acquire.


  42. J Bloggs says:

    My concern is based on the fact that the US congress is determined to sell off the entire US helium stockpile for no adequately explained reason, combined with the estimates that the current known helium reserves are estimated to last about another 60 years. Now, reclaimation and recycling from industries that use a lot of helium mean that those estimates are probably on the low side, but given the usefulness of helium for things ARC welding, making silicon wafers for microchips, and for superconducting magnets in things like MRI scanners (which account for nearly 50% of helium usage), I think there’s better uses for helium than party balloons.

    Having said all that, if they manage to get these fusion power plants currently under development to work, helium will be created as a by-product, so there will be less need for concern at that point.


  43. robertguyton says:

    I thought they appeared complete and second-hand from the get-go.
    What an education it is, talking with you on the interweb, Tracey.


  44. robertguyton says:

    There’s a helium ‘stock-pile’?
    Guess that doesn’t weigh much, huh!
    With only 60 years of helium left, the future of partying seems bleak. Of course, if we could mine the sun…something that the ‘technology will save us’ crew probably think is do-able…Simon Bridges has already stated that he has complete confidence in the safety of such a venture and the returns to New Zealand will be astronomical. Of course the Greens are saying that it’s pie-in-the-sky but everyone knows what party-poopers they are.


  45. TraceyS says:


    I find the discussion with you to be more entertaining than


  46. robertguyton says:

    I long ago gave up on the idea that you might learn something from me, Tracey. Having been a teacher for a decade and a half and having taught right across the spectrum, I’ve got a pretty good handle on who can and can’t learn, so I’m resigned to being nothing more than an entertainment here.


  47. TraceyS says:

    So Robert, lets get this straight. If a person can’t learn from you then they cannot learn at all?

    If you haven’t given up teaching in practice, you certainly have in spirit. Politics, it seems, may have changed you for the worse.

    I might fall outside the typical “spectrum” but an incapable learner certainly I am not.

    Goodbye Robert. We shall not engage in debate again.

    Please excuse me in advance for not responding to your future comments. Nothing impolite or personal to be construed.


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