Former Energy Minister schools government muppets on the impact of their virtue signalling

Simon Bridges was touring West Auckland yesterday when an urgent debate was called on the oil and gas exploration ban.

Judith Collins stepped up:

JUDITH COLLINS (National—Papakura): There is no sadder member of Parliament today than the Hon Shane Jones. We heard him just tell us how happy he is, and he couldn’t even crack a smile. He couldn’t even crack a smile because he knows—

David Parker: I bet it’s not Botox.

Chris Hipkins: Ha, ha!

JUDITH COLLINS: —he let down the people who put faith in him and in his leader to at least keep some semblance of sense with the Labour-led Government. Actually, they have been deeply disappointed. David Parker might find it very funny that people will lose their jobs in Taranaki and elsewhere in New Zealand, and apparently they’re all going to be trained, they say, in engineering. Well, what the hell for—what the hell for? What’s this infrastructure going to be for when people won’t be there any more? Taranaki has one of the highest levels of income in the country and they’re just taking it away. They’re saying here that Taranaki also, in the oil and gas industry, pays double what is the average wage in New Zealand. It is one of the highest earning sectors in New Zealand, and yet this Labour – Greens – New Zealand First Government wants to take that away.

Last year I was privileged to be the Minister for Energy and Resources and it was interesting to find that crude oil exports from New Zealand to Australia are our second-biggest single export earner to Australia and until 2012 it was our single-biggest export earner to Australia. So it earned us in those days about $1.6 billion a year and now it’s around $500 million to $600 million a year, and that’s just off the one basin that we use out of the 19 recognised basins in New Zealand. We have the most immense wealth. We could be the Norway of the Pacific. Instead, we now have a Government that’s intent on turning us into the Nauru of the Pacific—with no disrespect to Nauru, but that’s essentially what it is.

If we want to look at child poverty—and by goodness are we sick and tired of listening to how we’re going to end child poverty but, by goodness, we can’t actually work out what it is, we can’t define but we want to actually end it! You want to do that? Then actually encourage our extraction resource industries, encourage natural gas, encourage our oil industries because those are industries that pay well but they’re also industries that have a remarkably excellent environmental record in New Zealand. We look at oil—yes, it’s certainly one where there’s a lot of other countries actually going after their oil, too. I don’t know that any of them do it as well or efficiently or environmentally soundly as we do in New Zealand, and yet we’re being told we can’t do that anymore.

Look at natural gas. Natural gas is not just an issue of fuel; it’s an issue of energy. Natural gas accounts for around 16 to 17 percent of our energy generation. So last year, for instance, we had a very dry year when it came to our hydro lakes. That meant that our hydro lakes, we needed a lot of extra help with that, and we couldn’t just go and buy some rain, so we had to actually use more natural gas, we used more coal.

I well remember Television New Zealand reporters asking me about this. They’d been set up by the Labour Party, I think, to ask about how we were going to have brownouts during the winter period right before the election—brownouts, we were going to have. I was confident to be able to say “Don’t worry; we’ve got coal, we’ve got natural gas, we have geothermal, we have hydro—we have options.” and that’s why New Zealand is rated third in the world for renewable energy use—third. And who’s first—Iceland, with 400,000 people, which, with all due respect to Iceland, is the size of Christchurch. And number two is Norway—the sixth-biggest oil producer in the world.

Norway supplies gas into the UK, it supplies gas into France, and they use underwater pipelines to do so. So when I hear Dr Megan Woods wanting to think so small and miserly about things, I’d like to say to her, “Norway—population very much like us; just like us, quite a way away from other big countries, but a country with remarkable resource.” That is why Norwegians are the richest people in the world per capita, because they have a sovereign wealth fund from oil and gas—that is why—and they are able to choose what they invest in now. They are now the biggest investors in the whole of the EU—the biggest investors. That could be us, but we’re not going to be having that now, not under this Government.

I want to say to that side today, and the people of New Zealand who actually think that we should be looking to New Zealand and New Zealand’s interests, our emissions are 0.02 percent of the world emissions. One of the ways that we can make that even better is to have more natural gas rather than coal, for instance. But we do have coal and we will use it when we need to.

So I’d like to say to this Government in power at the moment, with their New Zealand First – Labour – Greens Government, when we have brownouts and blackouts—because we’re not in Europe; we can’t just stick a line across to another country. We can’t do what Switzerland is doing in saying they’re getting rid of their nuclear power plants—

Dr Megan Woods: Forty-year horizon.

JUDITH COLLINS: —because they’re going to get their nuclear power from France—we can’t do that. We have to be self-sufficient. We have to be sufficient in our electricity supply. Megan Woods may well call out and say she’s happy for us to import, import, import; there’s only so much that we can import. At the moment, we import our crude oil. That is refined at the Marsden refinery, and we export our crude oil from Taranaki. We do that because we get a higher price for our crude oil than what is paid for what comes into New Zealand. So that is why, even though we’re a net importer of oil, we also export a significant amount, but that is not going to last for ever, from one field.

What is going to be next on their target sheet? Are they going to go after all the extractive industries? We already know—and James Shaw is looking very, very happy at that idea. So who’s going to pay for—where are we going to get the copper, the 4 tonnes of copper, for instance, that goes into every single wind turbine? Four tonnes of copper—where’s that going to come from? Who is going to pay for the gold and the silver and the platinum and the rare earths involved in all of our mobile phones and everything else we use in modern day life? Who’s going to pay for that, and where’s it going to come from, and how can we guarantee what is happening in the environment of those countries which will, in fact, exploit their resources? So we have a country that has immense wealth. We are sitting back from this Government and saying, “Well, all we can do is what we’re doing now except less.”

During the election debates, Megan Woods and I were involved in some debates on energy and resources, and not once did she ever say, “100 percent renewables”. And you know why she didn’t? It’s because—and she explained it at the time, the same as I did—to have 100 percent renewables in a country of our demography and the length of our country would actually mean having to have a huge oversupply of hydro and every other form of renewable energy.

I well remember the hydro plants being built, the dams being built back in the 1970s. It was a terrible thing! The precursor for the Green Party, the Values Party, were the ones out campaigning against them, and here they are today championing them, but they’re still only 63 percent of our renewable energy. And so what’s going to happen for the rest of it? Are you going to build more dams? Are you going to put some more wind turbines up, with all the concrete that goes in them, all the steel that goes in them, with all the copper that goes in with them? You’re going to do that too, Mr Shaw—and your answer is yes—and who’s going to pay for that? You’re already about to destroy the steel industry. You’re already about to do that by taking away coal, which is needed to make steel, and we have now a Government that shows what happens when the toddlers are in charge of the kindergarten. It’s an absolute disgrace. End quote.

Note the sexist sledge from David Parker, one of the nastiest MPs in parliament.

Some good facts and figures there.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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