IN the interests of a good read outside my local dairy, I have to ask the folks at The Gisborne Herald not to lower their standards by quoting misleading NZ Herald Digipolls (July 12 editorial).
Last month, The NZ Herald’s mates at Digipoll asked 750 people if they supported the National Party’s plan to increase oil, gas and mineral exploration. They were given four options: strongly opposed, opposed, cautiously supportive or supportive. The word “cautiously” helped generate another example of pre-fabricated statistics to misinform New Zealanders.
I wonder how many of those said “I’m cautiously supportive” so as not to sound ignorant or negative? Potentially 39.8 percent? In fact, I wonder how many of those 750 people know anything about oil, gas and mineral exploration and I wonder how many of those 750 people have it pushing on their front door like we do?
If you didn’t know already, American independent oil and gas corporation, Apache Corp, is coming soon to a farm near you. They’ve teamed up in a 50/50 deal with East Coast permit holders, Tag Oil.
Apache is huge. This mega-corporation took almost $17 billion in revenues last year and weighs in at number 154 of the world’s largest companies, according to Fortune 500. Never before has our region had a giant like this waiting in the shadows for a piece of our little paradise.
We’ve been told by Apache spokesman Alex Ferguson to put our faith in local government to make the right decisions involving drilling in this region but what on earth does the GDC know about multi-billion barrel oil exploration? Will a few “experts” from overseas be enough to prove, beyond doubt, that our communities, soil, air and water will be safe from the relatively new technologies Apache will be using?
In his 2011 “Sustainability Report” the CEO of Apache Corp, Steven Farris, states that “Safety is not negotiable at Apache . . .” In 2008 a gas pipe explosion across the ditch cost the Western Australian economy $3 billion. The Australian Government found Apache liable for the disaster through negligence but even they couldn’t beat the corporation when it got off on a technicality.
In the same report mentioned above, Farris proudly tells of Apache’s $100,000 worth of grants to non-profit organisations. As CEO, Farris earns more than this every two days.
Yes, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report on fracking is on its way but forget about it. The report is not going to recommend banning the practice and is not binding on the Government anyway. The current regime has shown exactly where it wants to go with oil exploration in New Zealand in spite of the absence of any clear economic cost-benefit analysis.
New Zealand will be getting 5 percent tips from Apache and Tag Oil for drilling holes in our countryside and dumping their waste on our farms or underground. They keep 95 percent for themselves. In the USA, if you tipped a waiter 5 percent of the bill there’s a chance you would get a slap in the face, or at least a dirty look.
Will Apache Corporation bring its golden touch to Tairawhiti? No they won’t. They are not coming here to give us jobs, they are not coming here to boost our local economy and they are not coming here to add a new paragraph to their 2012 sustainability report. Farris sums it up nicely: “The real point of Apache Corporation is to get a return to our shareholders.”