Major flaws in the oil ban procedure

Photoshopped image credit: Pixy

Hamish Rutherford reports on?Stuff: quote.

Jacinda Ardern’s decision to ban new offshore exploration permits was once celebrated with fanfare; now it seems she dare not speak its name.

At the start of the year, Ardern was delaying attending state visits in order for her to personally receive petitions calling for an end to oil exploration.

On the eve of her first trip to Europe as prime minister, Ardern?planned a celebratory announcement of the ban in front of a sympathetic university audience.

By Monday, days before the legislation comes back to Parliament for its final votes, it was almost as if the ban was forgotten. end quote.

I’m not sure it is forgotten exactly. I think the government wants the media and the voting public to forget about it. quote:

Asked about the lack of public consultation on the law change which enforces the changes, Ardern appeared to believe the Government was rushing through legislation for the benefit of the oil industry, to allow the annual process of offering new exploration permits to be progressed “this calendar year”. end quote.

To add insult to injury, she now thinks we are all stupid. They are rushing through the legislation in considerably less time than usual because they do not want proper scrutiny. If the normal process was followed, this bill would be thrown out at the early stages. quote.

Leaving aside the fact that the block offer will not happen until next year, Ardern did not mention the ban once and went so?far as to suggest the law change provided “absolute certainty” to the industry.

In reality, the decision on the oil industry appears to have left New Zealand’s boardrooms concerned that sectors of the economy may be subject to intervention from a Government with good and honest intention, but willing to act without taking time or getting good advice. end quote.

That statement is generous. In reality, we have a government that is hell-bent on pushing its will on the country, whether it is sound policy or not. This is a government that is ideologically driven, and it appears to care very little whether or not its ideology is damaging to the economy or the country as a whole. quote.

Back in September Energy Minister Megan Woods’ office acknowledged consultation would be truncated to speed the process of offering new permits.

At the time this was drowned out by alarming official advice on the ban, and attempts by the Government to discredit it. end quote.

How can you possibly truncate the process for a bill that is at the heart of energy security for the country? Not only that, but it is also a bill that devastates the entire oil and gas industry. It is economic sabotage… all to be completed in five minutes flat. quote.

The advice from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) claimed the move represented a multibillion-dollar hit to the Crown, with no evidence it would lower carbon emissions. end quote.

So why are we doing it then? quote.

The real reason for the rush ??it is just over a month since Woods announced the law changes ??appears to be to try to minimise the scope for debate on the legislation. end quote.

Of course, it is. Over 2000 submissions had to be dealt with in a matter of weeks. Normally, this procedure would take up to six months. quote.

The oil industry marked it as a cataclysmic decision which had severely damaged New Zealand’s reputation as a place to invest, that would also undermine the energy security of our remote islands.

The Legislation Design and Advisory Committee ??a quasi-official group of technocrats tasked by the attorney-general with?helping to improve legislation ??warned that rushing the legislation could hit?”confidence in the legislative process”.

This is the reason Ardern should not be so casual in her dismissal of questions about the lack of consultation. end quote.

Dead right. If the government is not going to apply the proper process to each bill it wants to pass, it damages the credibility of the government and the legislative process altogether. This government has no right to hijack the process, particularly on a bill that will have catastrophic consequences for New Zealand’s energy security. quote.

But this was a political decision, made without proper advice, which would have a lasting impact on a part of the economy that?touches every household and business, at least indirectly.

When the Government got the official advice, which appeared to undermine the justification for imposing the ban, ministers attacked the credibility in dismissive terms.

Then it rushed the public consultation phase and refused to travel to Taranaki ??the heart of the sector ??to front up to the region which faces the major impact. end quote.

Typical of this bunch of cowards. The government sometimes has to make difficult choices, but the least they could do would have been to front up to those people whose lives were going to be devastated by this crackpot decision. Those people who are now heading off overseas to find alternative jobs in the industry that they know. quote.

None of that can be changed?and too much of the Government’s credibility is tied up in getting the legislation across the line for anyone to back out now. end quote.

We are all going to regret this act of tyranny by this government. Our international reputation as a banana republic will become widespread. Worse than that, the security of our energy supply is in serious danger. We only have a few years of gas reserves left and gas is vital to the transition to renewable energy resources that this government so desperately wants. They really are a bunch of clowns. They are clowns that are doing our country, our industries and our energy supplies irrevocable damage. If the end result is higher emissions, as some experts advise, then their stupidity will be laid bare for all to see but there will be no going back by then.