Greenpeace protest all about publicity

15/04/2011

An ODT editorial says that Greenpeace took the wrong option in its protest against the Petrobras seismic survey off the East Coast:

The target for protest action should be the promised legislation that, while it should not prevent oil and gas exploration, needs to be sufficiently robust to ensure the marine environment will be adequately protected and, should an accident occur, restored.

That is the challenge for Greenpeace and others. Raising fears when none are justified is tactically foolish – and most likely to backfire.

But influencing legislation wouldn’t get the publicity swimming in front of a ship did and publicity is what Greenpeace needs most.

It is a large international organisation that requires a lot of money to run.

That’s why they recruit, usually young, people to travel* round the country trying to recruit supporters. They’re set targets of the number to sign up each day and their pay is related to how well they do – just like other big businesses which use incentive payments.

It’s much easier to recruit workers and supporters when they’re in the headlines looking like they’re the little people against a big, evil corporation or government than it is formulating and presenting logical submissions to influence legislation.

*The vans they travel in aren’t usually self-contained, I hope they abide by the clean, green principles they preach and don’t freedom camp where there are no loos.


Buying local good but not for oil?

12/04/2011

A review of the way the Dunedin City Council manages its $1.9 million vehicle fleet includes a recommendation to drop the buy-local policy.

Existing policy required the council to buy goods and services from Dunedin suppliers where possible, if the purchase price was under $50,000, which meant a variety of Dunedin dealerships were supported, the review found. . .

The review acknowledged an end to the buy-local policy “will be unpopular with local dealerships”, as the policy aimed to support the continued viability of Dunedin businesses.

However, the council also had to minimise costs for ratepayers.

“In this regard, unless local vehicle dealerships can ‘meet the market’ or at least be within an acceptable range, it will be impossible to achieve both objectives.”

On the face of it a council supporting local businesses make sense. They pay rates, buy goods and services from other businesses which pay rates and employ people who pay rates all of which fund the council.

There is also a question over whether buying local does actually cost more:

The peer review of the original Management Toolbox review had been conducted by FleetSmart, which provided fleet management services to the council, and its findings contradicted some of those in the original review.

That included the suggestion the council should end its buy-local policy, as the peer review questioned whether doing so would achieve further savings, he said.

If everything else is equal using local dealers could be the best option.

But if buying local is more expensive then ratepayers are effectively subsidising the businesses.

Apropos of buying local, this catch-cry of environmentalists doesn’t appear to apply to oil:

Greenpeace climate campaigner Steve Abel said protesters were sending an “emphatic message” to the Government that deep sea oil drilling would not be tolerated in the country’s waters.

Protests like this one against Petrobras which is surveying in the Raukumara Basin off East Cape are very good publicity for the protestors but they are misguided.

They’d be better putting their energy into ensuring there are safeguards to protect against environmental ill effects if drilling eventuates.

That way we might be able to buy local fuel without any unacceptable risks to the quality of our water.


Oil’s okay if it helps the protest?

11/04/2011

How did the people protesting against oil exploration by Petrobras off the East Cape get out to the survey ship?

Did they walk, cycle or ride horses to the beach then row, sail or swim from the shore?

Thought not.

That sends the somewhat confused message that using oil is okay if it helps the protest against finding more.


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