South 'must seize drilling opportunities'

John Scandrett.
John Scandrett.
The disparity between the average salaries in Taranaki and Otago makes it imperative Dunedin does everything possible to welcome Anadarko and Shell when they arrive to drill off the coast of Otago, business leaders say.

The Seek average New Zealand salary packages for December showed Wellington at the top of the list with an average salary of $81,259, a growth of 4% from January last year.

Taranaki, despite a 13% fall, was second on $75,349, followed by Auckland with 3% growth at $75,170.

At the bottom of the list was Otago with 5% growth, on $60,189, below Manawatu on $62,803 and Bay of Plenty on $63,803.

The national average was $74,002, with 3% growth.

The top-paying jobs were mining, resources and energy on $101,622, consulting and strategy $98,910, engineering $92,598 and information and communication technology $91,348.

Jobs most common in parts of Otago, such as administration and office support, call centre, and hospitality and tourism were the bottom three on the list, with all salaries lower than $50,000.

Otago-Southland Employers Association chief executive John Scandrett said the list was an analysis of quite specialist positions.

''When we review the Otago and Southland regional results, seen here in national net terms in an underperforming light, it appears the local outcome hinges substantially on the weight we carry across lower-paid healthcare, medical and farming sector activities.

''While it is most important that we remain firmly supportive of our traditional economic activity base, we are now facing considerable challenges building momentum around wider economic initiative generation.''

The South must be proactive in identifying and capturing the potential employment and investment opportunities that would spin off the proposed gas drilling work now on the horizon, he said.

In that context, there was a need to understand exactly what input the exploration companies would seek from local employees and businesses and also from local government.

''Ideally, we will see central government step into the frame with a positive Norwegian-modelled royalty allocation to sovereign-managed pension benefit.''

If those key elements could be welded together successfully, a more positive and widely-spread support platform for the new development should become evident. Locally, the depth and strength of employment capacities would receive a dynamic shot in the arm, Mr Scandrett said.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said it was widely recognised Dunedin salaries were less than in the rest of the district and that was because the jobs were mostly concentrated at the lower end of the salary scale.

The city should be aiming much higher and there was an opportunity sitting at the top of the scale in mining, resources and energy.

The loss of jobs at the Oceana Gold Macraes gold project was a blow to the region and they must be replaced with other high-paying jobs.

Dunedin was dependent on the education and hospitality sector for some of its higher-paying jobs, he said. However, there needed to be a move across the board to find a wider range.

Jobs like those which could be lost from Invermay were an example of why the region must continue to fight to retain those sorts of high-skilled positions, Mr Christie said.

''We would be naive not to look at the benefits exploration will bring to the district. We cannot go on losing high-paying positions. Fisher and Paykel Appliances is bringing jobs to the city and they are significant jobs. ''

Canterbury and Auckland were likely to keep rising up the ranks, particularly since consulting and strategy, engineering and construction were three of the top four earners, he said.

The earthquake rebuild and Auckland's housing shortage would attract skilled workers away from regions such as Otago.

It was important for the region to diversify and oil and gas was just one area of possible growth. Otago could not afford to be complacent in any area. Even call centres should be pursued, Mr Christie said.

Offshore drilling

If oil/gas is found the end result will be that the site will be capped for future use some 20/30 years down the track when a new round of negotiations will take place. How many other wells have been capped. Sadly there will be no economic benefit for Otago for a very very long time.


East Cape.

Now you're on to it

Sparrowhawk: I've said many times that democracy doesn't work in this country. Demonstrating our dissatisfaction was a waste of time with the stadium (and there were thousands more against that) , just like its a waste of time here. I don't know of any example where anyone has been able to stop oil exploration and extraction.

The more gas, the less oil we will use

Apparently, "The opposition parties, if elected later this year, want to create a single, state-owned power buyer and a restructured pricing model."

See here 

How will that help reduce the cost in an intelligent and systematic way by interefering with the economy and regulating power in that way?

How did a single state-owned regulated power system work for the USSR or Romania and how is it working for Venezuela?

The more gas we can get access to, the less oil we will use and the less electricity we will use, so that would be good for us all as electricity is expensive and would cost a bomb to use in electic cars.


Democracy, don't make me laugh, it's nothing more then a word made up to keep the minions happy, wake up and realize no one listens to you or me our opinions don't matter to the powers that be. They will do what they to do and to hell with the rest of us. Our opinions only matter at Election time. So as I said, protest to make it safer because that's the only way someone might just might listen to you.


What you are saying is we have no democracy in this country so suck it up, everything is about money and all we can do is try to minimize the damage even though nobody will take any notice. If demonstrating our dissatisfaction doesn't work on one thing, then it's not going to work on anything and we might just as well give up. What a sorry state of affairs. Not unsimilar to the indigenous people who are being told to get off their lands in the Amazon, to make the best of it and work to support the mining companies who took their home and left them on the streets in the first place. Is that what you really want? Options are as limited or unlimited as we make them. We dont have to take what's rammed down our throat. If we do, then we are nothing more than slaves regardless whether we are rich slaves or poor. What a legacy to leave the next generation with.

as I said

that would be all part of any discussion wouldn't it ? Great idea a progressive enviroment group who was there for every one not just the few. I would go along with that. Made up of both sides to the camp. But I guess Im just dreaming. A shame really something like that could beenfit as all tree huggers and tree cutters both.

Who would police the safety requirements?

It would be great if we had a solid environmental group that would police these oil companies but generally NZ legislates and lets the companies take care of their own monitoring.

We only have to look at the mining situation - who polices that? There is apparently legislation but look what happened - leave it to the mining companies to police their own safety and end up killing 29 people because it was not compliant with the safety regulations. 

let's make it work for all

I think most people in Dunedin would agree drilling for oil/gas off our coast is not the most desirable of options, But the options for Dunedin are very limited, tourism does not bring in all that much money to benefit most of Dunedin and the people living here. Over natural resources (and that includes oil and gas if there is any ) are all a very important part of Dunedin's future and we need to take full advantage of them all.

Everyone has a right to protest, But the drilling will happen no matter how many people protest about it. I would suggest that rather then protesting about the drilling, protest for better safely standards to make sure if something does happen there are things in place to stop it before it damages the environment.

Use the your protest to force discussions on how drilling can be made to benefit/work for Dunedin so there will be jobs and wealth for all. at the same time making it as safe as it can be. Let became leaders in drilling safety not followers. Help our leaders make good decisions around the drilling that they have already agreed to.

If the protesters did these things I would consider that they are working for the benefit of all concerned. And would protest along with them. But as long as they only protest to stop something that will go ahead anyway and waste not only their time but the time of everyone involved I cannot and will not back them.

Let's all get real here and work together to make this thing that is going to happen as afe and beneficial for any and all concerned. fighting about it is fighting about it is counter productive, not productive.

I'm not so sure life is better in Taranaki anyway...

I would have to say life in Dunedin is much much better, without the drilling polluting the water of course...

Let's keep this civil please

'Back to school for you' and 'You are the missing link' are clearly aimed at me personally but in no way do they further your argument. You have hinted that you have a link to a National Party press release, post it and I'll read it.

You are the missing link

thank you nightmejohn for that Green Party Press Release, however, it fails to answer your allegation that SOE revenue was channelled to National party supporters. The press release relates to the Green Party's suggestion that National's SOE sales programme constitutes the privatisation of public wealth (which is a valid argument, but overly simplistic). I guess my response could include a link to a National Party press release. Back to school for you.

Happy to oblige

Thank you eru for your enqiury. In response I submit a further link.

In response to chances are

Nightmejohn, where is your evidence of revenues from SOEs being channelled to wealthy suporters of national governments?

You might want to provide that before you "rest your case"?

Chances are..

That under a National led government, oil revenues, like revenues from formally state owned enterprises, will be chanelled to wealthy supporters and backers of said government. I rest my case m'lud.

The Oil Fairytale

Dear nightimejohn, thanks for the link to the excellent Guardian article. As far as I can see the moral of the tale is that oil can make countries rich, but we should be careful not to waste oil profits on tax cuts for the rich - as happened in the UK under Margaret Thatcher. As the authors note "Oljeeventyr is how Norwegians refer to their recent history: the oil fairy tale. It conveys the magic of how in just a few decades, they have been transformed from being the poor Nordic neighbour to being the richest". Sounds good to me. 

Blinded by greed

The article link you sent confirms that if we planned extraction and returns from oil / gas exploration then there is value to communities... provided, we follow the Norway example.

I am not saying whether we will have the foresight to do that, but it confirms a key point that the CEO of the Employers Association made... ''Ideally, we will see central government step into the frame with a positive Norwegian-modelled royalty allocation to sovereign-managed pension benefit.''

Oh yawn

Still the same old dribble - We need jobs and we need income.

Instead of protesting against Gas/oil exploration and wishing for more ecofriendly products how about the protest groups actually coming up with some viable alternatives.

You want to build a decent wind farm in this country the same rent a mob protest about that too - The reason that most green ideas don't get off the ground is because they are financially flawed and could only work if the already pulverised taxpayer was squeezed even more.

Seems to me  it would be much more productive to protest against the poisoning of our country by high intensity dairy farming which is happening  rather than something that is so far offshore you won't even know it is there.

C'mon protestors come up with viable alternatives - hell I might even join your protest if you do :)

Long term opportunities

So... if the Govt. established a sovereign wealth fund from the royalties from oil and/or gas exploration, which enabled investment for future generations, then would that be ok?

Or are people singularly focused on being anti-mining at all costs, whilst applying rather xenophobic comments about "outsiders taking" our wealth? The two do not reconcile by the way, they are separate arguments (stereotypes of the oil industry being the domain of Texans in cowboy hats has long since been disproven).

If we are open to international examples, then perhaps we should listen to Mr Scandrett and look to Norway? Their sovereign wealth fund, which collects taxes from oil exploration and reinvests that capital into alternative investments (including green technology) recently passed US$900b. The returns from that fund ensures that Norway can deliver a range of socio economic benefits to communities, without taking on excessive debt that future generations will have to pay for.

South must be proactive

It's not misleading at all. It's the view of the Employers Association.And it relates to jobs and incomes. Did you even read the article?

Otago lowest salaries. Taranaki second highest, presumably due to oil and gas.

The new left refuse to embrace industry and wealth and seem to think the country can get by on tax transfers ...... that's why Wellington has the highest salaries.....public servants living off the rest of us.

Yes. Otago must stand up and seize this once in a lifetime opportunity for wealth, jobs and opportunities. 


Who's stopping who

The "Conspiracy" around the fact that Oil Companies are holding back developers is an absurd one because you can already get them in the world. Another example to add to speedfreek - From Wikipedia "The Nissan Leaf is the world's top-selling highway-capable all-electric car in history totaling global sales of 85,000 units by October 2013". Petrol companies are Petrol companies so there's nothing stopping anyone setting up charging outlets either (create a competitive market perhaps), off-topic but the Electronics company Apple knocked Mobil of its throne early 2013 for the most valuable Public Company in the world so anything could happen.

For them to get cheap you will need the ones in the minority group to step up and buy them first, I guess you may need to check where the chargeable power comes - as we know the Greens would oppose hydro-dams. When battery tech has became sufficient they may take off but putting time into R&D right now achieves more than being against an industry that has and continues to serve mankind past, present, future.

Blinded by greed

Just a quick link to a  timely Guardian article to put the idea that this will be some sort goldrush into perspective. 

Electric cars

Sparrowhawk: They are readily available and made by GM. It's called the Holden Volt. Problem is, like with any new technology, its expensive for what you get. There's not many who could or would fork out $85K for one when a similar petrol powered car is 1/4 of that price.

The more they sell, the cheaper and better they will get. How about you get the ball rolling and put your money where your mouth is and buy one. 

Propaganda much?

Does anybody else think the title of the article is slightly misleading?

It's an article about our low job and pay rates, but for some rediculous reason it's titled we must seize drilling opportunities?

I'm fairly certain it wasn't that long ago I read an article in the ODT admitting that most of these exploration companies will in fact bring their own crews of workers.  And if they find what they are looking for, then anything they set up would be most likely mostly mechanical and computer driven, and even those would be worked by their own crew. 

And what happens with the money they make from their finds? It sure as hell won't end up in dunedin! So I really fail to see where the point is in this article, it seems someone has their wires crossed.

If you want to sell us drilling based on the "opportunities it will bring us" Show us the figurs for jobs it will bring for local people. show us the figurs for local profit. otherwise the only "opportunity" I can see here is the opportunity for outsiders to take, take and take from our environment for high risks to US and not them, and little return for us. It's insulting to run an article about Dunedins dying economy and headline it as if drilling will make any difference for the adverage Dunediner.

Gas not oil

It would be more likely being natural gas not oil that would be found. This is something opponents conveniently forgets to mention when scaremongering.

Oil and gas

It seems ironic that a city that is having decline in major industry is creating obstacles to attract major investment into the City.

We only seem to hear from % which is so small that it does not register. Unfortunately the people that would love us to embrace this opportunity seem to only talk between themselves or in the pub.

The rapid response force which need petrol to get there and use items that are built by petro chemical by product are trying to stop the items that they require. The usual we need it but not in our back yard.

Stilll no

My income is also dependent on everyone else having enough money to pay me. However I have a conscience as to where our money comes from as well. We can't always know whats making it but we an be caring of the fact that all money isn't equal. Some industries are creative. Some are destructive. We need to be discerning. I don't begrudge the money for my wind generator and solar panels. I accept I need a car still and have the least consumptive one I could afford, not an SUV.

I would prefer I could get an alternative fuel source vehicle, but they are not readily available. Why? Because industry isn't making them. They are still wedded to the oil economy til the very last drop. What then? If they don't switch to something else before it's too late it will be too late. I don't want drilling here for many reasons; environmentally, risk related, because the multinationals are bleeding us. But most of all, because they are leaving us up a creek without a paddle economically if we don't force the issue of where to from here. I would prefer a conscious transition into a new technological age than a fast reversal into the stone age when they can no longer avoid the fact that cheap oil, on which our world economy currently rests, will never come again.

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