The Nation 25 Oct 13: Oil spills, assets, Dunne, books
25 OCTOBER 2013
Coming up on The Nation
• Oil engineering expertProfessor Rosalind Archer and Greenpeace’s Simon Boxer on whether we're ready for an oil spill
• Finance Minister Bill English on the future of asset sales
• United Future leader Peter Dunne on retirement
• Publisher Sam
Elworthy on Kiwi writers being ripped off
Is New Zealand ready for an oil spill?
Greenpeace has modelled impacts of a oil spill predicting catastrophe for New Zealand beaches and oceans --- but oil and gas giant, Anadarko, as well as PEPANZ, the industry lobby, have called the report science fiction. The Greenpeace report has likened a spill in either the Taranaki Basin or the Canterbury Basin to the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon spill.
Anadarko say that even in their worst case scenario modelling for proposed drilling in the Canterbury Basin there is little chance of oil ever reaching the shore.
Professor Rosalind Archer is an expert on oil engineering at the Auckland University. Professor Archer has criticised the report for the false assumptions it makes, and says it is inaccurate to liken it to the Horizon Deepwater spill. New Zealand oil is not as pressurised as the Gulf of Mexico oil, nor of the same consistency, which she says makes it unlikely to flow out at such a high rate. But Greenpeace says the report uses industry standard parameters for its modelling.
But just what would happen if there was a catastrophic spill in New Zealand? How far away is the needed technology to cap a well and stop the flow? And what regulation does our government expect from companies who want to drill for the black gold?
Rachel speaks with Professor Archer on the realities of a spill and what would happen in NZ with the worst case scenario. Greenpeace’s Simon Boxer, joins Rachel in the studio.
Asset sales - still an idea worth floating?
Labour’s calling the Meridian float a failure after fewer people bought shares than expected.
Sixty-two thousand bought into the Meridian IPO despite the shares selling at $1.50 – the bottom of the indicative range. And the low offer price means Meridian sales will struggle to net the $6 billion expected by the Treasury.
But Finance Minister Bill English is blaming Labour and the Greens for low sales.
He says their power policies, which would introduce a single, nationalised electricity buyer if they’re voted in next election, scared off buyers.
But, with lower interest than expected, will the Government still press ahead with the sale of Genesis Energy in the first half of next year? And, if asset sales aren't netting the expected amount of interest, are the sales still worth it?
Finance Minister Bill English joins us to talk about the future of privatisation after the Meridian float this week.
Where do Dunne's allegiances lie?
Winston Peters came out with his KiwiFund plan this week, which was met by criticism from both National and Peter Dunne.
Instead, Dunne is dead-set on his own retirement funding plan, which would allow retirees to access their superannuation earlier or later at a reduced or increased rate respectively.
It's a plan that has been criticised by the Retirement Commissioner, and which National has refused to back.
But while Dunne is outspoken on retirement, he's been quiet or on the fence on other key issues.
Peter Dunne is with Rachel Smalley this weekend on his retirement plan and how his politics align with National policies.
Kiwi writers victims of Kim Dotcom?
Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries is not just flying off the shelves after she scooped the Man Booker Prize --- it's also been found on Kim Dotcom's file sharing website Mega.
It would seem it's not only movies and music available for free download online --- books are available now too.
The Publisher's Association president Sam Elworthy says this discovery is just the "tip of the iceberg".
He says they've found entire New Zealand educational texts on the file sharing site.
So how badly is illegal file sharing hurting New Zealand writers and publishers?
Sam Elworthy joins Rachel.