Petrobras not welcome in New Zealand | The Jackal

12 Mar 2013

Petrobras not welcome in New Zealand

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Prime Minister John Key says he will raise the possibility of Brazilian energy company Petrobras returning to New Zealand when he meets the country's President, Dilma Rousseff, today.

Shouldn't Key be asking New Zealanders first?

Mr Key said he wanted to encourage Petrobras to return to New Zealand after it gave up its exploration permits, including the Raukumara Basin, last year. Mr Key said Petrobras had given up many of its other speculative ventures internationally at the same time.

It's true that Petrobras was in financial trouble and had to pull out of other potentially less profitable investments in other countries... But it's also true that there was substantial pressure from activists to inhibit Petrobras from exploiting the East Coast of New Zealand. That was more likely to have made Petrobras forgo their permits.

"We will certainly say to the President that we think New Zealand is a good place for Petrobras to be involved and that they are welcome in New Zealand if they want to come. They've given back their licence, but that shouldn't deter them in the future."

If there was any real cost associated with acquiring exploration permits, that would be a deterrent. Increased funding to ensure that exploration and drilling is undertaken safely and that when accidents occur, there's adequate safeguards in place would also be a good idea. Unfortunately New Zealand is currently ill equipped to deal with even a moderately sized oil spill.

He ruled out offering any incentives for such a move.

Except for the usual incentives of course like prolonged tax holidays and having the initial surveying expenses all paid for by the government. In fact the public extensively subsidizes the oil and gas industry to the tune of millions of dollars per year.

It has been shown that for the same investment into clean tech, we could create at least twice as many jobs... That fact alone makes companies like Petrobras, one of the world's worst polluters, unwelcome in New Zealand.

Once again the Prime Minister isn't speaking on behalf of all Kiwis.