OffShaw shrilling overstates ‘great Green change’

In his latest newsletter James Shaw seems very happy about his party’s successes to date in Government, but he is overstating achievements a bit.

You got the Greens into Government and now you’re seeing the results.

This is what great green change looks like: No new drilling for fossil fuels in the oceans of Aotearoa!

I think that is inaccurate. There has been a ban on new offshore permits, but existing permits can still be used to drill new wells.

This is gigantic! Just the push back from oil companies alone proves how huge this is.

It may be big compared to green achievements in the past, but there is a lot of debate about what effect it will have in practice.

It will limit future exports of oil and gas, and local use of gas could be affected, but until practical large scale alternatives are found to fossil fuels for vehicles (including trains and planes) in particular New Zealand will have to keep importing oil.

And we could not have done it without you.

This campaign started decades ago and has taken the hard work of people, like you, who’ve participated in many different ways to support the stopping of fossil fuel extraction from our oceans.

For years we’ve shone a spotlight on the perils of the continued use of fossil fuels and its threat to our very existence. We know that the world cannot burn the 80% of the reserves we already know about if we are to have any hope of stopping catastrophic climate change. We know that our wellbeing and the wellbeing of our planet demand that we move to cleaner, lower emission ways of doing business and of living our lives.

The permit ban is a battle win, but the fossil fuel and climate change wars are far from over.

We’ve drawn a line in the sand. So now, not only are we taking climate action, but also our beaches, our whales and our Māui dolphins are much safer because of this decision.

I think that ‘much safer’ substantially also overstates the changes gained.

Shaw goes on the Ra Ra! the troops, with the inevitable pleas for donations, but if he oversells successes too often Green supporters may become jaded.

For the first time ever, we’re making the environment a major priority in transport. From now on, transport spending must focus on reducing climate pollution as well as other negative impacts on public health such as water quality.

And finally, no more taxpayer subsidies of large scale irrigation!

Cleaning up our rivers just got real! Thanks to our confidence and supply agreement, the Government is winding down taxpayer subsidies for large scale irrigation schemes that lead to over-intensive land-use.

Another massive win for the Greens and for you!

A lot of work was already being done on cleaning up waterways. A recent report showed that river quality has been improving over the last few years. More Green pressure will help, but a lot is happening regardless.

Perhaps loyal Green supporters will buy Shaw’s exaggerations, but most voters are more likely to be swayed to open their wallets by the Briscoe’s lady – who has toned down a lot lately.

In decades we may be able to look back on great Green change, but at this early stage it sounds like too much offShaw shrilling.

Greens hail ‘biggest victory yet’

Gareth Hughes:

I had to pinch myself because I almost can’t believe we did it!

Today our government has announced the historic decision to end all new fossil fuel exploration in our oceans.

Ending deep sea oil and gas exploration has long been a key goal of the Green Party and today, in Government, we’ve delivered it.

Without question it is our biggest victory yet.We’ve stopped the rigs.

Without doubt this is a big win for the Greens, but I don’;t think it stops the rigs, it just stops possible future rigs that don’t already have permits.

This nuclear free momentof ending the environmentally dangerous and planet threatening search for new oil and gas in our pristine waters has come about because of you and generations of New Zealanders calling for a clean energy future.

This campaign started decades ago. As a teenager I took part in a blockade of Mobil Oil calling for the end to oil exploration. And in 2011 I joined thousands of others on the beach at Tauranga to help clean up in the wake of the Rena oil disaster. Like so many Green members and supporters the campaign to stop oil exploration has been core to why I’m involved in politics.

And we really should all take pride in today’s historic win.

The Green Party has thrown everything (bar the kitchen sink) at achieving this goal. We worked with artists and painted giant murals, marched in the streets, tendered for the oil blocks to protect our oceans from the oil companies and I even donned a wetsuit to launch a policy underwater following the Rena oil spill. We uncovered scandals in Taranaki like the spreading of fracking waste on farm land and the National Government’s plans to drill for oil in the endangered Maui dolphin sanctuary.

For decades Greens have shone a spotlight on the perils of oil drilling and its threat to our very existence. And today we have won.

Our beaches, our whales, our Maui’s dolphins are safer from the danger of a Deep Water Horizon type catastrophe because of the decision our Government has made today.

Some people will not be happy about this decision. The oil companies are sure to protest loudly and have deep pockets and loud voice to drown out the call of the environment.  At the same time as this, the Government has started transition planning and support for the works.  So we need your help to get the positive message about protecting our climate out to as many people as possible.

Adams slams Cunliffe’s claims on offshore drilling

Further to Cunliffe and Hughes wrong on public ‘muzzling’ Environment Minister Amy Adams has slammed David Cunliffe’s claims in Govt rides rough shod over democratic rights where he said:

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.

“This is an outrage and the latest from a Government which continues to chip away at democracy.”

“The muzzling of local communities concerned about oil exploration shows the Government has once against backed the interests of multinational corporations over the rights of ordinary New Zealanders.

“New Zealanders have a right to a say in what happens in their oceans.

Gareth Hughes said:

National are intent on eliminating New Zealanders even having a say,” said Mr Hughes.

Adams responded with a media release:

Tricky Cunliffe continues to mislead

Hon Amy Adams
Minister for the Environment

28 February, 2014 Media Statement

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.”

A far more robust consents process is now in place.

This also addresses claims made by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, Greenpeace spokesperson Steve Abel and Oil Free Otago spokesperson Niamh O’Flynn in Deep-sea drilling change slammed (ODT).

Cunliffe and Hughes wrong on public ‘muzzling’

David Cunliffe and Gareth Hughes are wrong on claims of public “muzzling” over new non-notified consent regulations for off-shore exploratory drilling.

Envirinment Minister Amy Adams announced new regulations on Thursday. The public cannot oppose this drilling via the consents process – see Non-notified consents for exploratory drilling confirmed – but this doesn’t change how it was.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has attacked this in a statement Govt rides rough shod over democratic rights but makes misleading or false claims.

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.

“This is an outrage and the latest from a Government which continues to chip away at democracy.”

“The muzzling of local communities concerned about oil exploration shows the Government has once against backed the interests of multinational corporations over the rights of ordinary New Zealanders.

“New Zealanders have a right to a say in what happens in their oceans.

“A Labour government will make sure deep sea drilling consents are subject to full transparency and require international best practice.

“Off their local beaches” is emotive and inaccurate, the drilling this summer has been 60-100 km away from the beaches.

Kiwis have not lost any rights and have not been muzzled. Amy Adams:

But in terms of it being non-notified, well the public has no say on them now and never has had,  and so you know I think that’s left out of this debate. People are talking as if the ability to feed in this is removed.

There has never been a process for the public to have their say on exploratory drilling, and there’s never been a process for  any regulator oversight.

She says there has been no change to public having a say in the consents process, they’ve never had any say. I’ve seen nolthing that contradicts this claim.

And the public have not been muzzled, they can still speak and protest as much as they like.

“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.

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

The Government has put in place formal processes, oversight and safeguards. It could be argued that this doesn’t go far enough, but it’s an improvement on what we had, which was described by Radio New Zealand:

Until now the drilling has been in a grey zone regulations-wise.

So the new regulations for exploratory drilling are better than we had and make no change to the public having a say.

Is this good enough?

We aren’t having this debate because of the rhetoric and false claims of opposing politicians like Cunliffe.

Green MP Gareth Hughes also criticised the change in regulation and oversight (but no change in public input) in New oil drilling regulations muzzle New Zealanders:

“The Government legislated to stop people voicing their opposition at sea, and now they are locking them out on land,” said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

National are intent on eliminating New Zealanders even having a say,” said Mr Hughes.

“I am deeply concerned this will mean that the public will not get any say at all on extremely controversial proposals,” said Mr Hughes.

Greens don’t want just the public to “have a say”-

“The Government shouldn’t allow companies to risk our environment and economy with exploratory deep sea drilling in New Zealand’s waters.”

– they want no offshore drilling at all. For Greens the public “having a say” means giving the Greens and Greenpeace more opportunity to protest and delay and stop drilling.