The Dim-Post

November 11, 2012

Three times is enemy action

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 4:39 pm

It’s Shane Jones vs Gareth Hughes again.

Northland-based Labour list MP Shane Jones has again hit out at the Green Party for opposing development of the regions’s resources, including oil and gas, which he says could help reduce spiralling Maori unemployment.

Green Party oceans spokesman Gareth Hughes said the Government was “gambling with New Zealand’s economy” by allowing the exploration in deep water, “because if there is a leak there is no sure way to stopit”.

Promotion of the petroleum industry was “not a smart way to run the economy”, he said.

But Mr Jones, who has clashed with the Greens before over the prospect of mining in Northland and also over the party’s criticism of the fishing industry, said Mr Hughes’ opposition was premature.

“Let the information be uncovered first. It may be that the area is commercially barren, not unlike the minds conceiving that Green rhetoric.”

So this is clearly a Labour Party strategy rather than Shane Jones spontaneously going off the reservation three times in the past month. And it’s pretty smart: Jones is high profile but not on the front bench, so he can’t be seen as speaking for the party. I guess they think this will help him capture one of the Maori seats in 2014. And the Greens can’t really retaliate because they need to promote the idea that the Greens and Labour are a viable coalition partner.

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36 Comments »

  1. Haven’t Moana Mackey (and Labour) hung him out to dry on his thoughts, however?

    Comment by David Abricossow (@davidabricossow) — November 11, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

  2. I think its just that Jones is not impressed with the Greens wanting to shut down economic opportunity for maori. I doubt Labour as a whole have any coherent policy.

    Comment by NeilM — November 11, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  3. ah, a three way split within Labour. Those like Jones who see real problems with the Greens stopping economic growth and are open about it, those that support the Greens position and the leadership that wants to to have a bob each way and be all things to all people depending on who they’re talking to.

    Comment by NeilM — November 11, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

  4. From what I’ve seen around the traps (admittedly the traps I frequent are somewhat more green) they are mostly leading people to question if Jones supports more of National’s policies than Labour’s, wtf is he doing in Labour anyway?

    sooner that guy goes, the better!

    Comment by nommopilot — November 11, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

  5. “And the Greens can’t really retaliate”

    I think Hughes is doing a pretty job of “retaliating”

    Comment by nommopilot — November 11, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  6. From what I’ve seen around the traps (admittedly the traps I frequent are somewhat more green) they are mostly leading people to question if Jones supports more of National’s policies than Labour’s, wtf is he doing in Labour anyway?

    what are Labour’s policies? Take this for example from Labour on West Coast mining:

    http://blog.labour.org.nz/2012/11/08/tough-going-on-the-west-coast/

    Concern for jobs, but what are they offering? Subsidising coal mining?

    Labour’s concern for jobs, if genuine, is going to crash headlong into the Greens policies.

    Comment by NeilM — November 11, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

  7. Any the highly skilled jobs in offshore oil require a high level of education and training, which, thanks to National, isn’t available to average Northland kids. So any oil and gas exploration firms will bring their staff with them.

    Comment by richdrich — November 11, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

  8. “high level of education and training….. isn’t available to average Northland kids.”

    Since when?

    Comment by Andrew M — November 11, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

  9. The Greens definitely can retaliate against a lone Labour MP. No problem. The issue is whether or not the Greens should bother. Few people believe that oil off the shores of NZ will actually result in any long term local jobs. Any oil platforms will be crewed by foreign nationals and when the oil is gone in 5, 10 or 15 years…so will the jobs also be gone. The only real issue is what happens if a tsunami or other disaster causes a few billion barrels of oil to leak that would not have leaked had there been no well. The bottom line is: The Greens care…and Shane Jones (and Labour?) and the National Party don’t. Lining Jones up with Brownlee…..now there is an attractive pair.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — November 11, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

  10. Any the highly skilled jobs in offshore oil require a high level of education and training, which, thanks to National, isn’t available to average Northland kids.

    Maybe that’s a valid criticism of National but at least they want to see the industry develop unlike the Greens and maybe at some point in time we’ll find out what Labour thinks.

    Comment by NeilM — November 11, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

  11. Few people believe that oil off the shores of NZ will actually result in any long term local jobs.

    tell that to the Norwegians. It might not be creaitng huge numbers of jobs but they don’t have to worry about superanuation.

    Comment by NeilM — November 11, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  12. @NeilM if there was a snowball’s chance in hell of NZ doing what the Norwegians did with the oil I would be tempted to support it.

    Comment by Roger Parkinson (@RogerParkinson) — November 11, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  13. if there was a snowball’s chance in hell of NZ doing what the Norwegians did with the oil I would be tempted to support it.

    It just takes a govt to choose to do it.

    That could be Labour (I can understand why people might be leery of it happening under National). But at the moment they’re falling between two stools.

    This is an unfair description to some extent but it captures some of the dynamic – on the one hand Labour is trying to appeal to middle class greenies sitting comfortably on villas in Mt Eden and Grey Lynn and at the same time to working class people in the regions for whom resource exploitation means jobs.

    They’re going to have to make a choice. I can see Jones has, the rest look like they’re equivocating.

    Comment by NeilM — November 11, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

  14. Sometimes I think its Gareth Hughes who has the gamblers self hate. Or sheer stupidity.

    Comment by gn35 — November 11, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

  15. Shane Jones is doing a great job spelling out the costs of that little pricks brain farts. The most effective Labour politician at the moment I think. Lets hope people start waking up to the danger of the greens.

    Comment by Swan — November 11, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

  16. Basically this just shows the difference between the two politicians, Jones sticks up for his financial backers and looks to play the man not the ball, and Hughes comes out with some cold, hard environmental issues that shouldn’t be ignored. Hughes will probably lose the media battle over this, but the fact remains a deep water oil spill would devastate both our environment and our economy.

    Comment by alex — November 11, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

  17. Jones sticks up for his financial backers and looks to play the man not the ball, and Hughes comes out with some cold, hard environmental issues that shouldn’t be ignored.

    Jones: “Mr Jones did not think the prospects of any significant oil and gas industry in Northland in the short term were high, “but in the absence of information you can guarantee you’ll never see it up there”.”

    Hughes: “Promotion of the petroleum industry was “not a smart way to run the economy”, he said.”

    Yeah, that hyperbolic cheerleading for the oil industry sure was slapped down hard by Hughes’ awesomely indisputable facts…

    Comment by Psycho Milt — November 12, 2012 @ 6:22 am

  18. ahhh i love the internet.

    Comment by nw — November 12, 2012 @ 8:06 am

  19. How about Curran, does she clear her media statements via the party leadership?

    Her ‘Catastrophic Failure’ Hits Southern Cross Cable turned out to be a bit of a fizzer.

    But it once again raises the issue of whether or not Labour really will bale out private sector business.

    She claims This shows the Government’s inaction and disregard for our international infrastructure could have equally catastrophic consequences for New Zealand

    well there was a private sector group that looked at investing in a second cable but found it not a great investment. Is Curran suggesting a Labour govt will pick up the tab.

    Comment by NeilM — November 12, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  20. @NeilM: Curran has no agenda that she hasn’t co-opted from someone else in the echo chamber…

    “there was a private sector group that looked at investing in a second cable but found it not a great investment. Is Curran suggesting a Labour govt will pick up the tab [?]”

    Replace “a second cable” with “FTTH”, and it might even have been from National. she’d be all over your national oil company idea too, commiting to develop exploration with a downside risk of no economic discoveries, if she could just get her head around it.

    Comment by Ben — November 12, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  21. but to the point: Jones? his lack of humility is impressive. he would be amusing on a TV show.

    Comment by Ben — November 12, 2012 @ 10:14 am

  22. @Psycho Milt – Well, you are a selective reader aren’t you? Completely missed the point about the possibility of an ocean spill if the drilling goes ahead.

    Comment by alex — November 12, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  23. “Yeah, that hyperbolic cheerleading for the oil industry sure was slapped down hard by Hughes’ awesomely indisputable facts…”

    Not that the article provides a huge platform for debate or anything. I watched them debate the sealord issue on the telly and Hughes did a great job.

    Comment by nommopilot — November 12, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  24. Completely missed the point about the possibility of an ocean spill if the drilling goes ahead.

    I left out the irrelevant bits, yes. The basis for the Green Party’s opposition to oil exploration is summed up in my quoted comment from Hughes: they don’t like the oil industry (or any other, but it’s oil we’re talking about in this instance). Their drawing attention to risks that might turn out to make a particular oil field uneconomic to exploit using current technology is to try and make their opposition sound rational, but really it doesn’t matter how easily or safely a particularly NZ oil field can be exploited, the Greens would oppose it.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — November 12, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  25. “So this is clearly a Labour Party strategy rather than Shane Jones spontaneously going off the reservation three times in the past month.”

    Ummm … except that on two of these occasions Jone’s non-spontaneous outbursts have resulted in his colleagues slapping him down and saying that his views are not Labour’s and that (if anything) Labour agrees with the Greens’ position.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10840561

    Which means that if this IS some sort of intentional strategy on the part of Labour’s leadership (as opposed to an intentional strategy on the part of Shane Jones), then it’s a pretty fucking stupid one … “let’s get Shane to pick a fight with the Greens and then have his colleagues disagree with him and back the Greens so as to create a media narrative of splits within the Labour caucus!”

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 12, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  26. I get the impression that quite apart from the real possibilty of an oil-spill, the Greens opposition to expansion of the oil industry is rooted in the absolute likelihood of catastrophic climate change.

    But y’know, that’s just how it looks to me.

    Comment by George D — November 12, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  27. @ Psycho Milt – You’ve made some unfounded assumptions there, so let’s just go through them one by one:
    The Greens don’t like any industry. Wrong, Russel Norman was on record throughout the election campaign saying that New Zealand needs to develop industries around clean technology, ie the sort of industries that will power the 21st century (not the 20th.)
    Their opposition to make a potential field sound uneconomic… Well, economic for whom exactly? A Brazilian oil company like Petrobras? As has been pointed out by others, any jobs created by an offshore oil rig would be taken by foreign nationals, and would probably be completed in about a decade. And guess who gets to carry the cost of a spill? That’s right, the New Zealand taxpayer, along with our vital marine ecosystem. It would be great economics to destroy our fisheries industry just so we can power a few more cars overseas.
    The Greens would oppose any oil field – Yes and no, Norman is again on record saying some types of mining and resource exploitation should be explored, just not in conservation areas.

    And lastly, as George points out, catastrophic climate change. Is it really that smart to waste resources on trying to get the last of the oil, when instead we should be transitioning to a low carbon economy? The fact that we are even talking about deep water drilling shows just how scarce oil is becoming, if we could get it any easier we wouldn’t be bothering.

    Trying to paint the Greens as uneconomic luddites is ridiculous, out of every party they are the only ones who are actually looking forward on energy issues. The real Luddites are those who think the only way to run an economy is to dig stuff up.

    Comment by alex — November 12, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

  28. I agree, the Greens are very positive about potential hippie-friendly industries that may exist at some point in the future – it’s only actually-existing industries they dislike. Unfortunately, it’s the actually-existing ones that people are relying on to maintain their own existence. I know that Norman has been careful to claim that the Greens aren’t opposed to all mining and oil exploration, but examples of Green MPs endorsing an actual instance of mining or oil exploration are in mysteriously short supply.

    Re the economics of oil exploration, the issues of whether a particular oil field can be profitably exploited, and whether it’s in New Zealand’s national interest to allow that exploitation, are ones that can be argued at the point at which they become relevant. They have no bearing on exploration per se.

    Re the cleverness of “wasting” resources on obtaining oil, the society we have runs on oil. The Greens’ preference for “transitioning to a low carbon economy” by simply not extracting any more oil is the equivalent of helping a fish transition to an air-breathing environment by hauling it out of the water and laying it on the dock. It’s personally annoying to me to have to side with a venal, self-important buffoon like Shane Jones on any issue, but on this one he’s right.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — November 12, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  29. ““transitioning to a low carbon economy” by simply not extracting any more oil is the equivalent of”

    …transitioning to a low-donut diet by simply not going back to the fucken fridge in the middle of the night. there, fixed that for ya.

    there will be no transition if there is no political leadership towards one. ramping up fossil fuel exploitation is not the way to send a message to the economy that it is time to start thinking about a transition away from fossil fuels. your metaphor of helping a fish to learn to breath air gradually? that takes several hundred million years, which we do not have…

    “Re the economics of oil exploration, the issues of whether a particular oil field can be profitably exploited, and whether it’s in New Zealand’s national interest to allow that exploitation, are ones that can be argued at the point at which they become relevant. They have no bearing on exploration per se.”

    The economics are relevant immediately. Companies are not going to waste money exploring unless they are confident they will be able to exploit what they find, so the government will be under pressure to allow them to do so. There will probably be agreements about this made up front. There is no reason we can’t have a debate about whether it’s a good idea to exploit any oil that might be found now. we might be able to save them the trouble.

    I would rather we let our great great great grandchildren decide when a good time to explore might be. By then whatever oil may or may not be there to be found will be either a lot more valuable or (hopefully) completely unnecessary.

    “examples of Green MPs endorsing an actual instance of mining or oil exploration are in mysteriously short supply”

    don’t worry, Psycho, the oil companies can afford more than enough MPs to endorse/shill their activities without the Greens. Greens have better things to do.

    Comment by nommopilot — November 13, 2012 @ 12:00 am

  30. ” ramping up fossil fuel exploitation is not the way to send a message to the economy that it is time to start thinking about a transition away from fossil fuels.”

    Weaken the ETS, cut higher education funding, refuse to sign kyoto 2 … we’ll have this fish breathing carbon dioxide in no time…

    Comment by nommopilot — November 13, 2012 @ 12:11 am

  31. …transitioning to a low-donut diet by simply not going back to the fucken fridge in the middle of the night. there, fixed that for ya.

    If you really do believe that’s a more accurate analogy, I guess this needs repeating: the society we have now runs on oil. Everything, but everything, that makes the developed world the developed world is currently dependent on oil extraction and mining. The Greens’ solution to that is to simply stop oil extraction and mining – which would be an excellent means of seeing to it that we’re all living in a Mad Max movie by the end of next year, but not much else. Whatever we do to transition to a low carbon economy, it won’t involve going cold turkey on oil production.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — November 13, 2012 @ 7:54 am

  32. “The Greens’ solution to that is to simply stop oil extraction and mining”

    BS.

    I agree we’re dependent on oil now, but the science is very clear that at some point (sooner the better) we’re going to have to stop. There is a difference between stopping production altogether and increasing it. Whatever you think, extracting resources in Northland is not going to affect NZ’s oil prices at all because the oil will not belong to us.

    I agree going cold turkey would be bad, which is why we need a government with a strategy to gradually decrease our reliance on it, and the ability to lead this process with communication and policy. My donut analogy was not “stop eating donuts altogether” it was “have just one after dinner, and then save the rest”, you know, cut down a bit.

    My point is that there is only so much oil under New Zealand and (hopefully) hundreds more generations to come so, yeah, let’s not bring about the apocalypse by closing all the gas stations tomorrow, but also let’s not exploit every last drop of oil in the next 10 years and force the next generation to go cold turkey.

    Mad Max / Max Key – coincidence?

    Comment by nommopilot — November 13, 2012 @ 9:22 am

  33. “I guess this needs repeating: the society we have now runs on oil. Everything, but everything, that makes the developed world the developed world is currently dependent on oil extraction and mining.”

    Won’t disagree – but it’s equally true that the developed, and undeveloped world, are dependent on stable climate and stable sea level.

    You can’t have both. So choose. Every short-term expediency accepted now is going to be one helluva problem later on. It’s time for cold turkey on our oil addiction – but seems we’re not down and desperate enough yet.

    Comment by e-clectic — November 13, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

  34. NeilM & Roger P: it works for Norway because they have majority ownership & control of their oil wealth – they didn’t piss it away like Nigel Lawson did with Britain’s North Sea oil money. Here in NZ, I suspect much of the distrust owes a lot to the involvement of foreign multinationals and the perception of profits siphoned overseas.

    Comment by DeepRed — November 13, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

  35. “and the perception of profits siphoned overseas.”

    and the actuality of profits “siphoned” overseas…

    Comment by nommopilot — November 13, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

  36. PsyM: “Whatever we do to transition to a low carbon economy, it won’t involve going cold turkey on oil production.”

    Which is why a gradual process towards renewable energy – and in the long run a renewable society – would be in order.

    Comment by DeepRed — November 14, 2012 @ 7:30 pm


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