Protest 'goes against history'

Anadarko drilling ship Noble Bob Douglas will arrive in Otago waters soon. Dene Mackenzie.
Anadarko drilling ship Noble Bob Douglas will arrive in Otago waters soon. Dene Mackenzie.

The Oil Free Otago flotilla set up to hinder Anadarko's deep sea drilling programme went against more than 150 years of Port Otago's history, Otago Chamber of Commerce past-president Peter McIntyre said yesterday.

''I'm most offended these people can sit in the harbour, ignoring the 150 years of history and how the port has contributed to the growth of the region. When you consider what has come and gone from the harbour in that time, you see just how important it is to our economic growth and jobs.

''Our forefathers would be turning in their graves if they were aware of what is happening now. This group calls themselves Oil Free Otago, but this isn't even oil we are talking about - it's gas.

''Who are they to loftily assess, on all our behalf, what is `ethical' and what isn't? If you put that bar across all local enterprise and say that the current fuel we all still use to fill up our cars and ships is somehow unethical, you'd stop most of the remaining industry that flows through the port.

''There is no logic in their argument. They are extremists, seeking to sabotage Dunedin's economic wellbeing. The silent majority in Dunedin needs now to be equally vocal to prevent them from claiming to represent the views of the rest of us,'' Mr McIntyre said in an interview.

He was ''quietly confident'' the majority of Dunedin people would agree the welcome mat should be rolled out and everyone needed to do their best to make Anadarko and Shell welcome when they arrived.

Otherwise, what cold comfort it would be if Invercargill secured the base.

Oil Free Otago spokeswoman Niamh O'Flynn said on Sunday the ''rapid response'' team was established during the Oil Free Future seminar in Dunedin at the weekend.

She hinted it may be used to block the shipping lane in Otago Harbour to stop Anadarko vessels from using Dunedin as a servicing port.

The flotilla could also be rallied in the open waters around Otago's coastline as part of its resistance to the petroleum giant.

Mr McIntyre said it was time for Dunedin's ''silent majority'' to get off their backsides and show their collective approval for the arrival of Anadarko and Shell.

''For the city to proceed, we must pursue these opportunities. We are not in a position to argue. We are right on the edge of being called a city or a town,'' he said.

The Green Party has refused an Official Information Act request by the Otago Daily Times on what it cost for the party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes to fly to Dunedin and back to Wellington to take part in the Oil Free Future seminar.

The ODT asked for the flight costs, any associated land transport costs, accommodation costs, if any, and any meal, drink or other costs which could be charged by the MP to his parliamentary expenses budget.

A party spokesman said it would become ''a bit problematic'' responding to individual expenses inquiries.

Parliamentary rules required MPs to report quarterly, in a public way, on expenses and responding to the ODT request would set a precedent.

That's a long bow you are drawing

That's a long bow you are drawing there, Sabel. This well is just one out of several tens of thousands that will be drilled this year. Also, you miss the point regarding the 'unequivocal' evidence. There would be very few who don't realize that putting CO2 into the atmosphere will increase global temperatures. That is not really in any dispute. The question is, how much? The answer increasingly seems to be - not very much!

Not just because statistically there has been no global warming for over seventeen years now, but because estimates of climate sensitivity have been coming down, something which the latest IPCC report had to admit, albeit reluctantly. In the absence of any feedbacks, it is agreed that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would produce a warming of approx 1.2 deg C. That means 1.2 degrees between about 1850 and 2060. Of which there seems to be a general agreement that about 0.7 has occurred so far. With feedbacks added in, climate sensitivity estimates rise from 1.2 to the 1.5-2 range.

Now that is nothing much to worry about. Especially when, on a longer time frame, ie the next 1000 years or so, we will descend into another ice age, towards which we have been gently sliding for the last 7000 years, since the Holocene Optimum. There now, that should make you happier.

Offshore drilling Otago Southland

Oil drilling,  off Otago/Southland, mmmm !!


Yes I can see there will be objection to drilling  for oil, not only off the South Island of NZ, but anywhere, that's not new. But, protesters still pull into the gas station to full up your vehicle tanks with petrol, diesel or gas,  and like to turn your gas or fuel fired heating system to keep warm. Partake of the use of just how many plastic items in your homes and lives daily TV's etc ? Have you ever thought where the plastic comes from, I don't think so.

Do you want to go back a hundred years to when we didn't have oil or its by products? 


You don't want hydro electricity or windfarms or wave generators to generate electricity and you now don't want oil wells to provice oil to possibly provide the fuel to generate electricity, But you do want your 50inch TVs and computers and all the electrical toys and equipment that we have on our lives today. I doubt that a PC will work if plugged into a candle light source on the kitchen table. Like wanting your cake and eating it too. 


Grow up where do you think the fule comes  from, or do you just prefer it to come from some other country beyond your shores  that you have never seen? Yes there is always a risk, there is in most things thats life but that risk is minimised in ever well researched ways

OK now consider the benefits to the Southern Regions of NZ. Virtually every day or week there are more jobs lost for various reasons, I know from my own experence world wide just what the benefits will be to which ever port is used  for support operations.


Yes we must protect our enviornment I agree. So go to Norway and look and learn how, and what, they have done, they are the model to follow, they have one of the world's largest hi tech oil industries. Do it properly and it will benifit every one of you , fight against it and you have to accept New Zealand going backwards.


What do you want  for your family's future?.



Benefits and pitfalls - who's done it right?

Very thought provoking article - Norway got the whole money from oil exactly right. And Britain got it oil fund for NZ would be a great thing.


MacIntyre an anacronism hindering progress

MacIntyre and Mackenzie clearly live in enough of a bubble to have not realised the advance in scientific knowledge which has determined that human caused climate change is "unequivocal" according to the largest coalition of climate scientists the IPCC. Those who deny the advance of knowledge and society away from its old dependencies are indeed the shame of our forefathers - not those who bravely demand the advance of civilization towards clean energy (ie these noble harbour protesters). History will look shamefaced at the retired Chamber of Commerce head who opposed Dunedin and the world's progress.

Gas or Oil

Condensate is a by- product for drilling for gas. It generally floats to the surface and dissipates if not captured. There is no environmental damage at all. There is more oil seeping from the sea floor than what is produced from ocean exploration each year.

Silent majorities

I don't know who's right on this particular issue but I wish people would stop rattling on about silent majorities on every subject left, right, and centre. It immediately makes me think the person making the claim is a bit dim. It always goes the same way: here's a silent majority, it supports whatever I say, you can't argue with it because they're silent. Good grief.

protest a good idea

I would like to add my support to the people making the effort to protest the drilling programme in deep sea regions. I am impressed that they have the guts to stand up and be counted.

I'm not against development or industry, it is just that we simply do not have enough knowledge to avoid the risks yet - amply demonstrated by the spills around the world in the past few years.

And the oil isn't going away! If we take the time to learn how to do it safely, it will still be there. Yet do it wrong now and the risk is we lose more than just the oil, we lose the fishing industry, our beaches and our tourism industry. And that is just damage to humans, when you start talking about other species and the envionment as a whole, it adds even more to the risk.

When you are dealing with a community resource like the oceans, the developers should be proving no impact, and they can't even prove minor impact at this stage. 


Southgal, you ask for a debate about facts but then reject facts that don't support your standpoint. It is not alarmist scarmongering to imagine a future with no penguins on the Otago Peninsula. The fact is their numbers are falling already due to varity of reasons that include mostly human impacts. To risk yet one more in the face of this situation will not help matters.

gas or oil

The argument that the "company" will be drilling for gas and not oil and thus the situation is somehow better is complete spin.

What comes out of rocks is an oil and gas condensate. Typically because of low prices for gas and difficulty in storage and transport it has been burned or flared off at the well site. The company has no knowledge of what oil / gas condensate is present in the strata until a drilling program is undertaken.

I can not see reason why there should be any difference in the chance of a "blowout", given a different condensate type, as the pressure is dictated by the geology not the fluid extracted. What constitutes the "spill" will be the condensate which is a mixture of carbon chain lengths. The possible effect on the environment is not changed by the company stating it is searching for gas.

Time to focus on long term opportunities

I fully support Mr McIntyre's concerns raised, and echo his comment ''Our forefathers would be turning in their graves if they were aware of what is happening now."

I would like to add that our future generations would be even more horrified if they understood the debt we will saddle them with if we are not active in attracting investment into the city, and country. It is all good and well to protest every investment that does not tick an imaginary ethical box, whilst enjoying interest free student loans. That is the ironical greed of the left, feed their ethical egos now, and lock everyone into welfare, but have no foresight for the generations that follow (let alone absolutely no respect for the generations that preceded us).


On the "dead penguins and albatross" myth

It's alarmist, misleading and simply not true for nightimejohn to trot out the usual false "scary" propaganda that with a gas drilling project, there will be "an Otago peninsula without penguins, alabatross or sea lions." And isn't the first casualty of  any type of war always the truth?  It seems the end must justify the means when it comes to these guys. I hope Dunedin people realise this scenario is as far from reality of gas drilling (which doesn't cause spills or dead animals) as you can get, and that they themselves are being asked to swallow a load of black stuff!!


Southgal writes, "I agree with an earlier letter-writer, who suggested a pro-gas counter-protest as a way to beat the apathy and ensure the silent majority has its say - for a change!"

Then why not organise one?

Pioneer spirit

Don't buy your 'other perspective, nighttimejohn. Our forefathers were pioneers who came to build a life out of developing the possibilities around them. Hard working and pious, they built NZ's biggest and richest city (until about 1900) out of mining Otago gold. Good solid Presbyterians, they would have had no truck with the hysterics of the Church of Global Warming

Gas exploration

There is no doubt we can't live in a society with mentalities like that of this group, trying to stop the drilling. Just as an example the slogan 'No drill no spill' . We have to 'step out in faith' always to make gain. It has always been this way, otherwise we would have nothing that we now have. No one wants the wildlife to die and no one is doing anything with the intention of them being harmed. Level headed sense is required.

Time for debate with the facts

Hats off to Peter McIntyre for having the guts to stand up for Dunedin, for our population of workers and businesses, in the face of this largely unsupported protest action. Conspicuously, they don't seem to want to address the argument that this is gas drilling, not oil drilling. To them, Dunedin's economic welfare, and the reputation of its port, is to be sacrificed so that the city (and probably themselves) can have the dubious honour of becoming the national leader in climate change policy. It's called cutting off your nose to spite your face - and perhaps there's some individual ambition coming into this as well.  Some of our councillors are on board with this - but did they ever ask their constituents if that's how Dunedin as a whole sees themselves?

Did they spell this out to Dunedin citizens at the last election: Hey - stuff the jobs you have in Dunedin or could get - we're in it mainly for the everything that isn't human? And we're going to make your city a bastion for the green fringe? Sadly the arguments of their leaders don't stack up. There is no proof, and no chance, that the gas drilling project will result in a swamped South Dunedin, dead whales, penguins and dolphins or blackened beaches. 

The latter is an oil-drilling (and infinitismally rare and increasingly preventable) scenario. Climate change happens when you burn these fuels, and everyone is guilty of that - protesters included. And Dunedin will play its rightful (and not overdone) part as successive Governments continue to seek to reduce carbon emissions - and as new "cleaner" technology has its way.

Taranaki has operated a gas-drilling business safely for decades - and they are the richer for it, as a community, and no less pristine or beautiful than here. Diehard green or environmental extremist-style policies have no place in a city keen to maintain, and sustain,  itself. It actually makes me angry to think of these so-called citizens blocking a harbour I have known all my life as a working port. I agree with an earlier letter-writer, who suggested a pro-gas counter-protest as a way to beat the apathy and ensure the silent majority has its say - for a change!  

Offshore Drilling

Fully agree with Mr McIntyre's comments and the need to progress and support the offshore exploration. Ms O'Flynn and CO are truly in "Pixie Land" with there protests and should have better things to do than just protest at anything that looks good for us as a country, but is something they don't like. How do they plan to operate their flotillas - probably using the very means of transport using fossil fuel that they are protesting about??!!

These "professional" protesters need to wake up to some realities and get a true balance on what is good and what is not, for Dunedin and the rest of the country. It's a very sad situation that they simply can't balance out the extreme lengths the companies have to take to ensure all measures are taken to ensure safety and environmental protection - which all of us demand - but alweays have to impose their extreme views on the mojority of people who actually want to see economic progress being made.

Another perspective

Peter McIntyre says,''Our forefathers would be turning in their graves if they were aware of what is happening now''. However, future generations will be aware of what happens now and will judge our actions according to the legacy we leave them. An Otago peninsula without penguins, albatross or sea lions will be a vastly poorer place than we have today.

Doesn't speak for anyone but himself

Our forefathers would be proud of those with the vision and foresight to protect the future.

Mr McIntyre again representing a silent majority and refusing anyone the right to argue or apply ethics? Really? Another MacKenzie/McIntyre production to be ignored.

Is it time for the silent majority to take to the streets - oh hang on they can't - they are silent.

This city is getting on with preparing for the future and the old business lobby which represents fewer and fewer may be given unequal opportunity to squeal in the ODT but they become increasingly irrelevant with each squeak.


Peter McIntyre needs to understand that "we the people in Dunedin" are not servants of the crown or the port anymore.


You're so right in saying "Our forefathers would be turning in their graves if they
were aware of what is happening now"

They would be horrified to know the drilling rig will be coming to our waters and you happily sit back and say bring it on at any cost. Can you see the forest ......

Good on those brave enough to protest. They are not extremists and this isn't about ethics. They clearly have a lot more foresight and care more about the environment than many other people.



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