January 13, 2014

Dunedin people opposing oil/gas

by Pete George

With gas exploration resuming off the east of the South Island coast in the Great South Basin and more announced recently the debate over oil and gas exploration, and fossil fuel use general, has heated up.

Your Dunedin is recording the numbers of people in support, opposing and undecided on whether the exploration is good for Dunedin and Otago.

  • If you oppose oil/gas exploration and seeking related business for Dunedin and want to be counted please either comment on this post or email me at petedgeorge@gmail.com to be added to the list.
  • If you want removed or moved to another list please email me.
  • Some on this list are as per public indications of support in the ODT.

Those who state their name and suburb/town or organisation will go on one list, others will be listed separately.

Note: This is intended as an indication of relative support/opposition but is self selecting so is not a scientific survey.

Dunedin people opposing oil/gas

  1. Jinty MacTavish – Dunedin City Councillor
  2. Aaron Hawkins - Dunedin City Councillor (Green Party)
  3. Neville Peat - Dunedin City Councillor “concern or outright opposition”
  4. David Benson-Pope - Dunedin City Councillor “concern or outright opposition”
  5. Richard Thomson - Dunedin City Councillor “concern or outright opposition”
  6. Metiria Turei – Green Party co-leader, Dunedin North electorate candidate
  7. Niamh O’Flynn - Oil Free Otago spokeswoman
January 13, 2014

Dunedin people supporting oil/gas

by Pete George

With gas exploration resuming off the east of the South Island coast in the Great South Basin and more announced recently the debate over oil and gas exploration, and fossil fuel use general, has heated up.

Your Dunedin is recording the numbers of people in support, opposing and undecided on whether the exploration is good for Dunedin and Otago.

  • If you support oil/gas exploration and seeking related business for Dunedin and want to be counted please either comment on this post or email me at petedgeorge@gmail.com to be added to the list.
  • If you want removed or moved to another list please email me.
  • Some on this list are as per public indications of support in the ODT.

Those who state their name and suburb/town or organisation will go on one list, others will be listed separately.

Note: This is intended as an indication of relative support/opposition but is self selecting so is not a scientific survey.

Dunedin people supporting oil/gas

  1. Chris Staynes – Deputy Mayor, Dunedin City Councillor
  2. Andrew Whiley – Dunedin City Councillor
  3. Andrew Noone - Dunedin City Councillor
  4. Doug Hall - Dunedin City Councillor
  5. Hilary Calvert - Dunedin City Councillor
  6. Mike Lord - Dunedin City Councillor
  7. Lee Vandervis – Dunedin City Councillor
  8. John Christie – Otago Chamber of Commerce CEO
  9. Geoff Plunket - Port Otago chief executive
  10. Mark O’Connor - South Port chief executive
  11. Peter McIntyre - Otago Chamber of Commerce past-president
  12. Stephen Woodhead - Otago Regional Council chairman
  13. Steve McGirr, Merivale, Christchurch
    “I support it BIG TIME”

January 13, 2014

Dunedin people undecided on oil/gas

by Pete George

With gas exploration resuming off the east of the South Island coast in the Great South Basin and more announced recently the debate over oil and gas exploration, and fossil fuel use general, has heated up.

Your Dunedin is recording the numbers of people in support, opposing and undecided on whether the exploration is good for Dunedin and Otago.

  • If you are undecided or neutral on oil/gas exploration and seeking related business for Dunedin and want to be counted please either comment on this post or email me at petedgeorge@gmail.com to be added to the list.
  • If you want removed or moved to another list please email me.
  • Some on this list are as per public indications of support in the ODT.

Those who state their name and suburb/town or organisation will go on one list, others will be listed separately.

Note: This is intended as an indication of relative support/opposition but is self selecting so is not a scientific survey.

Dunedin people undecided on oil/gas

  1. Dave Cull – Mayor of Dunedin
    (Cull has indicated opposition to drilling in principle but with qualified support for industry related business for Dunedin).
December 3, 2013

Great South Basin oil find very unlikely

by Pete George

An oil find in the Great South Basin is very unlikely – there’s about a one in three chance of finding gas.

Councillor Jinty MacTavish reports on a Shell Petroleum briefing to Dunedin City Council about offshore exploration (MacTavish leans very Green).

I attend the briefings for the purpose of conveying information back to constituents who wish they had a way of staying informed about plans to drill for hydrocarbons off our coast. With that in mind, here’s the key stuff from today’s briefing – not much that’s new since the last one.

Shell reiterated that, on the basis of the work they have done, they consider the chances of a strike in the Great South Basin as follows:

  • Chance of finding no hydrocarbons = 70%
  • Chance of finding gas = 30%
  • Chance of finding oil = <1%

They explained that if they did strike hydrocarbons, there would be a long lead-in time to any exploitation – likely more than 10 years.

They advised that a formal ‘drill or drop’ decision (to drill an exploration well, or to surrender the permit) will have to be made with regards exploration permit PEP 50119, by 10 January 2014.

Shell will be conducting 2D seismic testing in the northern part of PEP 50119, and in their adjoining exploration permit area PEP 54863 this coming summer, commencing around mid-Jan depending on the availability of vessels.

Seismic testing in the ECS and EEZ is a Permitted Activity under the legislation passed by the Government recently, which means it can go ahead without a resource consent, subject to the company complying with the newly released DOC ‘Code of Conduct for Minimising Acoustic Disturbance for Marine Mammals for Seismic Survey Operations’ (available publically online).

Shell spent an awful lot of time reiterating the same (in my view very debatable, when one considers medium-term impacts) message that I have heard at least three times at these briefings, about their “very strong focus on safety and the environment”. There were some questions asked around how their business plan sits with the need to transition rather rapidly away from fossil fuels, given we’re only able to burn about a third of those we’ve already found.

Apparently they’ll get back to us on that one.

This confirms that an oil find is extremely unlikely. This makes the “oil slicks on beaches” fears largely unfounded.

The “need to transition rather rapidly away from fossil fuels” is very debatable. The world cannot currently transition rapidly away from fossil fuels, and it is questionable how much need there is to move to alternatives in the medium term.

October 24, 2013

Council committee structure and appointments

by Pete George

The ODT reports on new council committee structure and appointments.

Infrastructure Services
Chair: Kate WilsonDeputy Chair: Mike Lord

Interesting that both Taieri councillors are teamed up here.

Finance
Chair: Richard Thomson
Deputy Chair: Hilary Calvert

No surprise to see Thomson as chair, good to see Calvert given responsibility here, council finances were her main focus.

Economic Development
Chair: Chris Staynes
Deputy Chairs: John Bezett, Andrew Whiley

No surprise for Chair, longstanding councillor Bezett only makes it as a deputy, but good to see new councillor Whiley with responsibility in his main area of interest.

Community & Environment
Chair: Jinty MacTavish
Deputy Chair: Neville Peat

Second term councillor MacTavish should be good enough to step up to Chair responsibilities, newcomer Peat has a background that fits here.

Planning and Regulatory
Chair: David Benson-Pope
Deputy Chair: Aaron Hawkins

Benson-Pope has experience from a long time ago so curious to see him given the chair. Newcomer Hawkins may not be in his preferred area of interest.

Hearings
Chair: Andrew Noone
Deputy Chair: Kate Wilson

Noone was deputy chair last term so it would have been a travesty for him not to get this, despite rumours to the contrary. Wilson gets a second responsibility.

Most notable is the absence of Lee Vandervis from any responsibilities, and also missing is Doug Hall who has been associated with Vandervis.

Mr Hall said he was comfortable not holding any positions of responsibility while his conflicts of interest were being worked through, and had agreed that with the mayor.

No other councillors [other than Vandervis] raised concerns about the appointments and he felt the group would be able to work together.

Vandervis was unhappy with his lack of appointed responsibilities last term and is very unhappy with being left out again.

Questions need to be asked about the degree of dysfunction in the relationship between Cull and Vandervis.

Mr Cull’s main changes to the committee structure were the addition of a committee dedicated to economic development, chaired by Cr Staynes with two deputies, Crs John Bezett and Andrew Whiley, ”to ensure there is enough resource to drive the economic development strategy within the community”; and the removal of strategy considerations from the finance committee.

Strategy matters would now be handled by the standing committee best aligned with the respective strategy.

New subcommittees to deal with risk and audit, and grants, had been formed.

Good to see an emphasis put on economic development, this is something that obviously needs more attention.

Mr Cull said he decided on the appointments on the basis of skill, experience, people’s interests and their ability to achieve outcomes and maintain positive relationships with staff, without which there was a risk of not reaching any outcomes.

”That’s how I divvied them up, and clearly if anybody didn’t get a role I wasn’t confident they fitted those criteria.”

The number of votes councillors got was irrelevant to doing the job of achieving the outcomes of the council’s plans and strategies, he said.

Overall performance of council is the Mayor’s responsibility so he has to have confidence in who he appoints.

The choice of chairmen from Mr Cull’s political ticket, Greater Dunedin, for four of the five main standing committees failed to recognise voter support for other councillors or use in the best way the business and council experience available.

Oddly the ODT doesn’t attribute that as a quote. Giving preference to Greater Dunedin colleagues was an issue raised during the election campaign.

Ms Calvert, the highest polling councillor at the recent election, said she was confident she had something to contribute to the finance and risk and audit areas.

Asked if she was disappointed not to have gained a chairmanship or the deputy mayor role, she felt there was a ”lost opportunity” in that the appointments did not reflect the choices voters made.

Staynes was always going to be deputy mayor again. As a new councillor Calvert as deputy of Finance seems appropriate.

October 23, 2013

New councillors – interviews

by Pete George

All the incoming Dunedin councillors have been interviewed by Dunedin Television.

Dunedin TV | Interview

Film icon. Nightly interview: Andrew Whiley

October 23, 2013 – 7:24pm

Chisholm Park golf professional Andrew Whiley may well know his way around the links, but as one of Dunedin’s newest councillors he is going to have to learn an entirely new game. Mr Whiley was elected to council in the Central Ward. ›see story

Film icon. Nightly interview: Mike Lord

October 22, 2013 – 6:58pm

The former president of the Otago Province of Federated Farmers is a new face at the DCC, bringing a rural perspective to the council table. Mike Lord is part of Mayor Dave Cull’s Greater Dunedin grouping, and won his place thanks to voters in the Mosgiel Taieri ward. ›see story

Film icon. Nightly interview: Doug Hall

October 21, 2013 – 7:01pm

Dunedin businessman Doug Hall has called for growth, and open and honest representation from the Dunedin City Council. He won a seat at the recent elections, and now has the opportunity to try to make that happen. ›see story

Film icon. Nightly interview: David Benson-Pope

October 18, 2013 – 7:05pm

One of the seven new faces on the Dunedin City Council is not new to the role, nor the cut and thrust of political life. David Benson-Pope was a councillor in the 1980s and 90s, before moving to the national stage as a Labour MP. ›see story

Film icon. Nightly interview: Neville Peat

October 17, 2013 – 7:05pm

Seven new councillors were elected on the weekend in what is a major injection of new blood into the Dunedin City Council. Neville Peat is one of those new councillors, and he’s an author and former regional councillor, and the chairman of the Orokonui Ecosanctuary Trust Board. ›see story

Film icon. Nightly interview: Aaron Hawkins

October 16, 2013 – 7:14pm

Radio One morning host Aaron Hawkins is one of seven new faces on the Dunedin City Council. His election followed his endorsement as the Green Party’s mayoral and council candidate by party co-leader Metiria Turei in May. ›see story

Film icon. Nightly interview: Hilary Calvert

October 15, 2013 – 7:12pm

Seven new councillors were elected on the weekend in what is a major injection of new blood into the Dunedin City Council. Over the next fortnight viewers will get to meet those councillors as they prepare to be sworn in on October the 29th. We begin with the highest polling councillor, former ACT MP Hilary Calvert. ›see story

October 23, 2013

Misleading ODT headline on oil spill risk

by Pete George

The ODT has a dramatic headline – 27% chance of oil spill hitting coast – when it details a Greenpeace report on risks of oil extraction.

This is highly misleading, because it appears that the 27% chance only applies in an unlikely “worst case” scenario if oil is being extracted. It has been widely reported that gas rather than oil is most likely to be found.

Obviously there would be a risk if drilling occurs and oil is found and extracted

Greenpeace campaigner Steve Abel accused the Government of understating the “real risks” being taken with the country’s oceans and coastlines.

He said the report revealed the “full extent of the risk of deep-sea drilling”.

That’s ironic when Greenpeace and the ODT seem to be grossly overstating the overall risk.

For Greenpeace (and the ODT) to be taken seriously they should state what the actual risks are.

A NZ Herald report Blow-up over oil blowout study led with dramatics too…

New oil spill models have depicted the dramatic impact deep-sea blowouts would have on New Zealand, spreading across our most important fishing ground and hitting Auckland’s iconic west coast beaches.

The report, commissioned by Greenpeace and produced by data science agency Dumpark, sought to gauge the blow-out effects of two planned deep-sea drilling locations off the North Island’s west coast and the South Island’s east coast.

…but gives some balance and more details:

But an industry spokesperson last night slammed the study as inaccurate, “fear-mongering” and “science fiction”, while Government officials also described such a large-scale spill as unlikely.

Risks are greater in Taranaki but still claimed to be low (drilling has been relatively safe there for many years) extremely unlikely.

In the environmental impact assessment it last month lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority for its Taranaki operation, the company conceded a loss of well control would hold “significant impacts” for the environment, but stated this was “extremely unlikely”.

The public need to have balanced information on actual risks. Misleading headlines showing worst case possibilities don’t give us any idea about the real risks.

October 17, 2013

Why people don’t vote?

by Pete George

In his ODT column “The Wash” on Tuesday Dave Cannan asks why people didn’t vote in the election – ‘Have your say on why you didn’t’ (not online).

I’ll make it easier for you by providing a list of multiple choice options. Go through them , tick the ones you think apply to your decision not to vote, and let me know.

You didn’t vote because:

  1. The campaign was too long, boring and there were no major issues.
  2. Didn’t know enough about the candidates.
  3. Not enough young people standing.
  4. Didn’t understand how STV works (“what on earth is an iteration anyway?”)
  5. It makes no difference who gets elected because nothing really changes.
  6. Too many to choose from and it takes too long to fill out the paper.
  7. Just not interested in local body politics.
  8. It’s not compulsory and you don’t get fined if you don’t.
  9. Fully intended to but just didn’t get around to it.
  10. Couldn’t find a post office because NZ Post has shut most of the outlets down!
  11. The dog ate your ballot paper!
  12. All of the above.

The Wash also makes some suggestions to make people vote next time:

  • Bring back a single polling day and dispense with the weeks of inertia and apathy.
  • Make online voting an option.
  • Make it a campaign on declared political party lines or leanings.
  • get council staff to go door to door and pick up filled papers, as the census people do.

Any thoughts on this?

I’ll post follow up in The wash and my own thoughts separately.

 

October 15, 2013

Dunedin’s council mandate

by Pete George

A mediocre mandate – 10% less voted in Dunedin overall, and 20% less voted for mayor Dave Cull.

Dave Cull has been re-elected mayor, and fourteen people have been elected or re-elected to council. They have an electoral mandate to represent the people of Dunedin.

But they don’t have a strong mandate. Ten percent fewer voters took part in this election overall, 37,504 (preliminary) which is about 9,000 less.

In 2010 Dave Cull got 22,832 votes, this time the preliminary count is 20% lower at 18,446 – a significant reduction in voter support.

This reflects a number of things including disinterest, indifference and dissatisfaction.

The incoming mayor and council need to address why so many people are not taking part. Engagement with the people has to be a priority.

The mayor and incoming council have an electoral mandate, but they also have a vote of no confidence in their relevance to many Dunedin people.

October 14, 2013

Local body politics “so damn tedious”

by Pete George

Newstalk ZB’s chief political reporter Felix Marwick is less than impressed with the local body elections - Political Report: Local body election so damn tedious

The reason people don’t give a damn about local body politics is probably because it’s so damn tedious and so damn nebulous. It appears, on the surface, to be a succession of beige candidates with beige ideals. Figuring out exactly what they stand for is a task beyond us mere mortals.

I don’t mean to dump on those who’ve taken the time to put themselves forward for office. It’s a thankless task and they deserve respect for giving it a go. But for whatever reason, local body politics has all the appearance of being dull, distant, and divorced from the realities of most peoples’ lives.

Yes, thankless. And even more tedious than the national politics that Felix usually reports on.

In the last Local Body elections my sentiments were similar to Felix’s, so I decided to do something about it.

Ironically I campaigned on making local body politics more relevant for people, but no one was listening.

Actually some people did listen and want to do something about it with me, so we will. For those who can be bothered engaging.

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