Word of the day

March 1, 2014

Mimp – pursing of the lips; to speak affectionately.


9/10

March 1, 2014

9/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.


Sol3 Mio

March 1, 2014

Interview of the week

Jim Mora in conversation with Sol3 Mio  and obviously enjoying their music and humour.


Which Muppet are you?

March 1, 2014

Which Muppet are you?

kermit


Growth forecast 3% – NZIER

March 1, 2014

The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research is forecasting economic growth of 3%, the best since 2007.

Strong growth this year will come from the resumption of ‘normal’ spending and investment patterns and surging Canterbury reconstruction. The reconstruction will contribute one-third of GDP growth this year (Figure 1). . .

The institute expects interest rates to rise and sees a risk in large policy shifts:

The general election later in 2014 will see a plethora of policy announcements from political parties, tempted by looming fiscal surpluses. Spending promises should be seen in the context of steeply climbing fiscal pressures associated with ageing, and the inevitable trade-offs that this will present. We do not expect the election to have any immediate impact on economic growth, but any large shifts in policy will shape future economic growth.

National’s policies have got us through the recession, back on track to surplus and growth.

The return to high taxing, high spending, anti-growth policies the opposition are promising would put that all at risk.


Non-notified discretionary consent for exploratory drilling

March 1, 2014

Exploratory drilling for oil and gas will be classified as non-notified discretionary  under new EEZ Act regulations, Environment Minister Amy Adams has announced.

“The non-notified discretionary classification is the pragmatic option for exploratory drilling, and will provide a level of regulation proportionate to its effects,” Ms Adams says.

“This is part of the National-led Government’s overhaul of the laws and regulations governing the oil and gas industry.

“The classification will provide effective oversight and environmental safeguards without burdening industry with excessive costs and timeframes.”

Exploratory drilling is the drilling of an offshore well to identify oil or gas deposits under the seafloor, and to evaluate whether they would be suitable for production.

As part of the marine consent application, operators will need to submit an impact assessment that identifies impacts on the environment and existing interests. The impact assessment must describe any consultation undertaken with people identified as existing interests.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will fully assess the effects of the activity on the environment and existing interests. If a marine consent is granted, the EPA can impose such conditions as it thinks necessary to properly manage any adverse effects of the activity.

Obtaining a marine consent to drill an exploratory well does not give the consent holder the right to begin producing oil or gas.

The operator would need to apply for a separate, discretionary marine consent before any production activities could take place. During this stage, the public would have the opportunity to make submissions on the proposed activities.

The decision for activities involved in exploratory drilling for oil and gas to be classified as non-notified discretionary follows a seven week consultation period on the draft regulations from 12 December 2013 to 31 January 2014.

Public consultation on the regulation of activities involved in exploratory drilling also occurred during August and September last year.

The new regulations come into effect on 28 February 2014.

The EEZ Act came into force on 28 June 2013, bringing a comprehensive approach to managing activities in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

Under the EEZ Act, activities can be classified as permitted, discretionary, non-notified discretionary or prohibited.

Exploratory drilling is normally a low-risk activity.

The Minister’s decision means applications will be considered on their merits by the environmental Protection Authority.

That is far better than the prolonged and expensive delays which would result if notified consents were required.

The time and money involved in going through the protracted consent process could well be enough to put companies off exploration altogether.

That would no doubt please those of a dark green persuasion but Taranaki’s illustrates what the country could be losing if that happened.

Off-sea drilling there is boosting the economy with no damage to the environment.


Sarah Dowie for Invercargill

March 1, 2014

Sarah Dowie has been  selected by National Party members as their candidate in Invercargill.

As the party’s regional chair it was my duty, and pleasure, to chair last night’s selection meeting.

The official media release says:

The National Party has announced local legal professional Sarah Dowie will be its candidate for the Invercargill seat at the 2014 general election

Ms Dowie was endorsed by a meeting of local party members in Invercargill tonight.

“National is taking nothing for granted in Invercargill this year, and the selection of a candidate of Sarah’s calibre reflects that,” says National’s Southern Region Chair, Ele Ludemann.

“The electorate and the party have been well served by retiring MP Eric Roy. Sarah will be working hard to win the support of the community to continue that strong local leadership. She is well aware of the challenges ahead, but I know we have the right person.”

Ms Dowie says she is immensely proud to have been selected to contest the electorate for National.

“Invercargill is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. I enjoy people and am passionate about this community,” says Ms Dowie.

“I believe we have some real opportunities ahead as a region. Our challenge is to ensure strong leadership and responsible policies which create more jobs and growth.

“I would be thrilled to earn the trust and support of our communities to serve them in Parliament, help secure those opportunities, and keep Invercargill’s strong voice in John Key’s National Party.”

Sarah Dowie – Biographical notes

Sarah Dowie is an Invercargill-based solicitor. As the daughter of two police officers, justice and law and order issues are part of her DNA.

After graduating from Otago University and being admitted to the Bar in 1998, Sarah established a successful career practising commercial and environmental law.

39-years-old, Sarah lives in Invercargill with husband Mark Billcliff and their two pre-school children. Mark is a former first class cricketer and Southland representative, who now gives back by coaching local youth.

Sarah is an appointee to the Otago-Southland Lotteries Board. Instinctively community-minded, she also provides free legal services to community groups.

She is a former manager for the Department of Conservation in its tourism and concession wing and is now a trustee and Deputy Chair of the Dog Island Motu Piu Conservation Trust, which is working to eradicate pests on the island and restore it as a viable habitat for tuatara.

An active member of the Invercargill Rotary Club, Sarah currently holds the Directorship of Youth/New Generations. She is also a member of the Invercargill Women’s Club, attends All Saints Anglican Church, and is a former executive member of the Waihopai Playcentre.

In her acceptance speech, Sarah paid tribute to Eric and said his will be big shoes to fill.

The unofficial photo shows how big the shoes she will have to fill are:

shoes 2

For the record, his shoes are size 15, and Sarah is up for the job.


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