Cunliffe caught out again

March 2, 2014

When Environment Minister Amy Adams announced an improvement to the EEZ Act, Labour leader David Cunliffe leapt in to say:

The Government has today revealed its true contempt for democratic rights by ploughing on with plans to override Parliamentary majority and gag local communities, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. . .

“Kiwis also lose their rights to have a say on exploratory drilling off their local beaches under new rules coming into effect today.

But the Minister points out the new legislation is an improvement on what happened under Labour:

David Cunliffe latest attempt to rewrite history on oil and gas exploration highlights an on-going, casual relationship with the truth, Environment Minister Amy Adams says.

“As a minister in the previous Labour Government, David Cunliffe knows there was no environment oversight and certainly no public involvement in the exploratory drilling process under his watch,” Ms Adams says.

“Once again he has been caught out being tricky with the truth. He is trying to create a distraction from Labour’s woeful environmental credentials.

“Under his government, 36 wells were drilled in the EEZ between 1999 and 2008 with no legislation in place to protect the environment.

“In fact, the Labour regime only required the Minister for Energy and Resources to sign a permit and required no formal environmental assessment at all. That’s it – no public comment, no submissions, no consideration of environmental effects.

“The ridiculous thing about David Cunliffe’s argument is that the EEZ Act introduced by this Government actually replaces a non-existent environmental regulatory regime for drilling in the EEZ, where the public had no say.

“Under this Government, the public will for the first time get a chance to have a say. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can call for submissions from the public prior to granting a consent for exploratory drilling, if the EPA feels it is required. And before any production drilling can take place, a full public process must be held.

“This means before an oil company can make a single dollar of profit, they have to go in front of the people of New Zealand and make sure everyone has a say in the full process.”

Oh dear, Cunliffe has been caught out again.

The new measure gives the public more say than they had before.

Perhaps Cunliffe’s new chief of staff will have a better grasp of what happened when Labour was last in government and be able to stop him leaping into an argument without the facts to back up his assertion.

 

 


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.


Rural round-up

February 21, 2014

Draconian sharemilking clause to be deleted:

Federated Farmers is to delete the outdated ‘set-off’ clause from its industry standard Herd Owning Sharemilking Agreement.  This move will be welcomed by Sharemilkers and Sharemilker Employers alike.

“The set-off clause is outdated, against common law and is downright draconian,” says Tony Wilding, Chairperson of Federated Farmers Sharemilker Employers section  

“The set-off clause gave farm owners the ‘right’ to instruct their dairy company to withhold up to 75 percent of the milk payment due to a sharemilker during a dispute.  These funds are instead transferred into the farm owner’s solicitor’s Trust Account. 

“I know the set-off clause is only supposed to be used after conciliation of the dispute has failed and the dispute is in arbitration, but too often, I have heard it being misused and this is causing sheer misery. 

“Sharemilkers end up with little money to feed their family, let alone their cows, when the correct dispute resolution process hasn’t been adhered to. . .

Young herdsperson wins three times on the trot–  Yvonne O’Hara::

Samantha Hall (14), of Stirling, has won the Southern Rural Life Young Herdsperson of the Year for the third year in a row.

Jorja Robertson (13), of Wyndham, was second, after placing third last year.

Samantha won the Southern Rural Life trophy and $100, while Jorja received $50. . .

 

Honeybee disease infecting bumblebees:

Scientists in Britain say they’ve found evidence that diseases found in commercially-kept honeybees are increasingly spreading into wild populations of bumblebees.

Populations of bumblebees are in steep decline around the world.

The insect is an important part of the countryside, but over the last 50 years numbers have plummeted, the BBC reports.

Scientists from Royal Holloway at the University of London believe that a virus and a fungal parasite, usually carried by honeybees have spread to bumblebees. . .

Consultation on draft EEZ regulations underway:

The Government is seeking feedback on draft regulations for the dumping of waste and the discharge of harmful substances under the EEZ Act, Environment Minister Amy Adams announced today.

“These activities already occur within New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. They are currently regulated by Maritime New Zealand under the Maritime Transport Act 1994, but will be transferred to the Environmental Protection Authority when the new regulations come into force,” Ms Adams says.

The proposed regulations will cover discharges of harmful substances from offshore structures and from production facilities on board mineral mining ships, as well as the burial of human remains and the dumping of waste. . .

Farm accountancy puzzle solved:

A missing piece of the farm accountancy puzzle has fallen into place with the launch of Figured – an online farm financial package launched at Xerocon today.

As a former partner in a rural accounting firm, and a farmer, David Marshall felt for a long time there had to be a more efficient way of managing farm finances.

Working with farm investment company MyFarm, which is responsible for managing more than 50 farms, Marshall says he became increasingly frustrated at not having the right financial information at his fingertips.

“We were trying to communicate how well the farms were running or if there were issues looming but we seemed to be reporting different results, using different systems and getting different answers.” . . .

Xero to launch ‘Farming in the Cloud’ service mid-year:

Significant partners on board

Online accounting software company Xero has announced today that its new ‘Farming in the Cloud’ solution, which brings real-time, single ledger reporting to the farm for the first time, will be ready to go to market mid-year 2014.

The solution allows farmers and their accountants, banks and rural service companies to work together from the same set of online, real-time data, and will provide one centralised home for key accounting and farm management tools.

Key to the solution is a growing eco-system of farming software partners that are fully integrated with Xero’s beautifully simple online platform, and has the potential to be a major boost for farmers, and for the country. . .

Finalists Recognised for Maori Excellence in Farming:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) would like to congratulate the three finalists, and all entrants of the 2014 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming award.

“It’s great to be a major sponsor of a competition that celebrates and encourages Māori farmers who are committed to pursuing new and innovative approaches,” says MPI’s Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton.

“Māori agribusiness is a major contributor to New Zealand’s primary sector, and the wider New Zealand economy. These finalists should be proud of their achievements and I’m sure they will go on to be leaders in their sector,” says Mr Dalton.

The three finalists announced at an event in Parliament last night are:

  • Putauki Trust –Himoana Farm Bay of Plenty
  • Ngati Awa Farms Ltd – Ngakauroa Farm – Bay of Plenty
  • Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd – Taranaki . . .

 


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