Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Petroleum Industry Engaged In ‘predatory Delay’ Campaign, Study Finds

A three-year study has revealed the New Zealand petroleum industry has been carrying out a concerted lobbying and PR campaign to slow the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy and prolong dependency on oil and gas.

The study, headed by economic anthropologist Terrence Loomis, investigated the ‘propaganda campaign’ being led by the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) in cooperation with various conservative politicians and business interests to bolster the petroleum industry’s flagging public image and influence Government’s climate change transition planning.

“This is not the normal kind of promotional campaign that industry trade associations carry out all the time,” Dr Loomis said. “Like Big Tobacco, fossil fuel companies have known for decades about the harm their operations and products are doing to the climate and people’s health. This is about ‘predatory delay’ to keep the country dependent on oil and gas for decades.

Prior to last week’s Budget, PEPANZ’s CEO John Carnegie launched another PR salvo arguing the oil and gas industry could help the New Zealand economy recover from Covid-19 with 'the right regulatory changes' like keeping climate change out of the RMA and more 'flexible' treatment of exploration and production permits. PEPANZ’s release mirrored a submission the same day by six peak bodies representing the Australia mining sector, calling on the federal government to relax environmental regulations to rebuild the post-pandemic economy.

According to Dr Loomis, “this is an industry that was already in deep trouble before Covid-19.” Major companies have already pulled out of New Zealand. OMV and Horizon Energy, two of the remaining companies, recently announced they were halting exploratory drilling, cutting production and reviewing their business plans. “This is an industry that has cost the New Zealand taxpayer over $100 million with the Tamarind debacle. It’s a major contributor to climate change. Why would the Government encourage or bail it out, particularly when we have renewable alternatives?”

The study described how key figures behind the campaign have collaborated in delivering a suite of common messages, aided by an accommodating mainstream media, to shape public perceptions about the industry. It documented some of the social media tactics, misleading information and repetitive rhetorical claims that PEPANZ has made (e.g. transition will take decades; ‘clean’ gas is a ‘bridge fuel’) in spite of independent studies challenging such claims.

National has promised to end the exploration ban and push for more petroleum development if elected. “That’s precisely the wrong direction to go if we are serious about addressing the climate crisis and transitioning to a low carbon economy,” Dr Loomis stated.

Until now, the Government has avoided further measures besides the exploration ban claiming they could be economically and socially ‘disruptive.’ “It’s been a politically expedient stance with an election looming,” Dr Loomis said. “But public support for the government’s handling of the pandemic and calls for green recovery planning have provided the opportunity to consider further steps to end our reliance on fossil fuels and go hard on renewables and alternative transport.”

The study, titled The Predatory Delay Diaries http://www.terrenceloomis.ac.nz/latest-publication.html, suggests additional supply-side measures the Government could adopt if it took seriously the UN Secretary General’s call at COP25 to urgently end petroleum exploration and extraction.

For example, the Minister for Energy and Resources Megan Woods could stop granting extensions to offshore exploration permits, end onshore exploration, cut all remaining industry supports, include climate change in the Purpose statement of the Crown Minerals Act, and revise the 10-year Resource Strategy to include rapidly phasing out fossil fuel extraction.

It was hoped environmental organisations, climate groups and policy makers would find the research useful in developing post-Covid19 energy and climate policy, and responding to the petroleum industry’s predatory delay campaign.

Terrence Loomis is an economic anthropologist and independent researcher specialising in the political economy of the oil and gas industry. He was Professor of Development Studies at Waikato University before becoming a senior policy advisor under successive National and Labour governments. His 2017 publication, Petroleum Development and Environmental Conflict in Aotearoa New Zealand (Lexington Books) was written while he was a Visiting Research Scholar at Victoria University’s Institute of Governance and Policy Studies. www.terrenceloomis.ac.nz

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Politics Of Using The Word “Fascist”

“Fascist” is one of those labels with the ability to capsize any debate. Call your opponents “fascists” – or “agitators” or “terrorists” or “scum” and you’ve taken the option of mutual respect and compromise off the table. Interesting then to see the ( paywalled) Washington Post seriously debating with itself yesterday over whether… Hmm, is it now finally time to bring out the f-word in connection with the presidency of Donald J. Trump, and with his enablers in the Republican Party..? More>>


RNZ: Covid-19 rules and restrictions on businesses to be lifted under alert level 1

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there will still be strict controls on the border, but all current rules and restrictions on businesses and services will be "essentially lifted" under alert level 1.
She said the lower alert level would also put an end to restrictions for hospitality businesses, and gatherings - including funerals and tangihanga - of any size could take place..... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, ... More>>


Green Party: Statement On The Death Of George Floyd

“Today and every day we stand in solidarity with George Floyd’s family, friends and community who feel pain and fear about his untimely death at the hands of Minneapolis police”, said Green Party Co-leader and Māori Development spokesperson Marama ... More>>


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>


National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>


Government: Five New Super Hercules To Join Air Force Fleet

The Coalition Government has confirmed five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft will be purchased to replace the existing fleet, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. More>>


Government: Queen's Birthday Honours List 2020

The New Zealand Order of Merit The Queen has been pleased, on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday, to make the following appointments to The New Zealand Order of Merit: DNZM To be Dames Companion of the said Order: Distinguished ... More>>

Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>


Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>


The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>


Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>


Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>






InfoPages News Channels