Fossil fuel divestment : Council fails to recognise opportunities

Election Year : This post is offered in the public interest. -Eds

Received from John Evans
Fri, 29 Apr 2016 at 7:54 p.m.

█ Subject: Why the Dunedin council’s decision on non investment and non support of oil investment is wrong

It is noticeable that the decision makers on the DCC who have made the decision on non oil investment are unaffected by their decision, because they and employees of the council are on fixed salaries, but the ratepayers, business men and women, and working persons in the city are severely compromised.

### Wed 18 June 2014 10.24 BST
Aberdeen, the oil city where boom and bust happen at the same time
By Peter Geoghegan – Aberdeen
OPINION The taxi driver swings his brand-new BMW out of Aberdeen train station. Behind him the sleek glass-fronted £250m Union Square shopping centre, with its Apple store and Hugo Boss shop, glistens in the afternoon sunshine. “Welcome to the oil capital of Europe,” he says with a smile. As we drive past Aberdeen harbour, crowded with cargo ships, he talks about his grandson. A multinational oil company is paying the 17-year-old £12,000 a year to study mechanical engineering at college. He will graduate into a guaranteed job. “He’ll be on £100,000 by the time he’s 25,” the cabbie says confidently. Such stories are common in oil-rich Aberdeen. The Granite City boasts the highest concentration of millionaires in the UK. Three-star hotel rooms can cost upwards of £370 a night. In a city of 220,000, unemployment is just 2% and average annual salaries more than £39,000, around £12,000 more than the UK average in 2013.
Read more

DUNEDIN The citizens should dump their elected body just for failing to recognise possible opportunities for their ratepayers.

This council would not have allowed gold mining had it been in charge in the 1860s.


ABERDEEN : Granite City —the buildings sparkle after a rainfall.
aberdeen [] 1

Aberdeen City Garden
Revitalising the centre and reconnecting the city to its natural landscape.

aberdeen abcitaerial []
aberdeen Learning Garden [] 1

Diller Scofidio + Renfro selected to transform the centre of Aberdeen Jan 2012
Aberdeen City Garden Trust has announced Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) as winner of the international design competition. The New York City based firm will be working with the Scottish practice Keppie Design and Philadelphia landscape architects OLIN. The £140m City Garden Project will radically transform the center, raising the nineteenth-century Union Terrace Gardens and covering over the “unattractive” Denburn dual carriageway and railway line.

Evening Express Uploaded on Feb 15, 2012
Walkthrough of Aberdeen City Garden Project
Residents are being given a bird’s-eye view of the planned Aberdeen City Gardens in a new video. Swooping around the pathways of Aberdeen’s Granite Web, the visitor is taken on a two-minute tour of the green spaces, flower beds and woodland.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Geography, Heritage, Infrastructure, Innovation, Media, New Zealand, Offshore drilling, People, Politics, Public interest, Resource management, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

21 responses to “Fossil fuel divestment : Council fails to recognise opportunities

  1. Gurglars

    And despite the low price of oil, Aberdeen has managed to continuously reduce its rate of unemployment.

  2. ab

    The history of Scottish extractive industry is chequered. As the Guardian story reports, there are social inequalities and Food banks in Aberdeen. It would be better if Scotland nationalised its resource of North Sea oil, and charge BP.

    Any spill would severely affect fishing grounds off Buckie. Ipso facto, any spill off East Otago would play hell with the harbour salmon. It’s a question of choice, but oil doesn’t automatically put everyone on top dollar, (unless we actually own it).

    • @Ab April 30, 2016 at 10:19 am

      You say
      “It would be better if Scotland nationalised its resource of North Sea oil, and charge BP.”
      Are you assuming that Scotland leaves the UK?

      Under the present arrangement the oil tax revenues are assigned to an economic region set up by the UK government, which is called the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

      This means that oil resources are not officially assigned to Scotland but instead to a region distinct from the British mainland.

      If Scotland were to become independent, and a sovereign state, it would expect the UKCS to be divided up on a “geographical” basis. However the referendum resulted in Scotland remaining part of the UK. So Scotland cannot act unilaterally at present.

  3. Gurglars

    Ab- all true, but there has been no oil spill in 60 years at Aberdeen.

    And if you want to view inequalities just head to the $1400 per day, $900 per day commissioners at the DHB, the $500,000 CEO and the minescule savings the Compass contract suggests and the slops being fed as a result to public hospital patients.

    And for a bit more on inequality studies, I suggest you view the salaries of the myriad of non-performing managers at the DCC and those affected by their incompetence, the South Dunedin residents who cannot afford to fix their homes.

    The reality is that there are very few industries or business development schemes that Dunedin can offer major multinational companies that will develop the city and jobs and oil and tax havens are two of them. Fishing possibly another.

    Gigatown has been a flop, so Silicon Valley has no reason to start here, the local market is too small to attract such possibilities. The last boom in Dunedin was caused by an extractive industry and if there is to be another rise in the city’s fortunes, it will only be another extractive industry or as a centre for a major fishing industry.

  4. Calvin Oaten

    Gurglars, the forcing of the Waipori Fund to divest any investments in the ‘fossil fuel’ industry is another slap in the face for the citizen shareholders. If the ‘green eyed prats’ were onto it they would be suggesting the Waipori Fund be investing in the burgeoning ‘Solar Energy’ developments, ‘the Electric Vehicle Industry’ and the rapidly growing ‘Lithium, Cobalt and Graphite Market.’ Too blinkered on that as well I suspect. But best of all they should keep their sticky biased hands out of Waipori Fund’s business.

  5. Gurglars

    Exactly and with oil at $30 half the production cost of north sea oil and probably not much more than production cost of Arabian oil, there is only one way for oil and that is UP.

    There are 1000 electric cars in New Zealand and over 30,000 oilfired cars in Dunedin. Just what do people think will run them. Multiply these numbers by America, Europe etc and get the picture. Investing successfully is about buying well – there can be no better time in the last fifty years than now to buy into Oil. Certainly there will be a time to be out of it, maybe thirty to fifty years, but the green loonies need to understand that Dunedin is a financial basket case and those who make decisions must make intelligent FINANCIAL decisions not based on any ridiculous social engineering wishlist.

    • Gurglars

      April 30, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      Exactly and with oil at $30 half the production cost of north sea oil and probably not much more than production cost of Arabian oil, there is only one way for oil and that is UP.

      Gurglars I think you are spot on.

      Appropos of that it is now apparent that Russia is going to open up the Northeast Passage. They have icebreakers of enormous size, that can handle ice much thicker than it was formally possible to break. Once they break the ice along the coasts in the summer it tends to melt faster, and to have less structural integrity, and present less of a problem to ships, especially ships with “hardened” hulls. Shippers could save a lot of money, and avoid a lot of hassles in the Mideast, if they skipped the Suez Canal. It would be an economic boon to the long length of Russia’s North Coast (and aggravate the heck out of Greenpeace).

      It is plain Russia is prepared to invest heavily in keeping those sea-lanes open at considerable expense, even in a colder climate. They are now talking about “floating platforms” even bigger than the huge icebreakers, which to me sound a little like aircraft carriers, because you will be able to land jets on them.

  6. Gurglars

    Maus, the Chinese are also investing in ships capable of using what Russia opens up to improve trading opportunities. Buy Oil get rich quick, try Santos on the ASX for a start and if you’re a big risktaker look at TPE on the Toronto exchange TSX, they have enormous sales and wells in Turkey and Albania but the Oil price is killing them. Risky but 100x when oil price rises.

    (5 years ago they were (the greenies) discussing peak oil!) Just what price will Oil be when it really does start to run out?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      It was a typo that didn’t get picked up, then believers repeated it until it reached the stature of Truth. They’d never have got it past Peta and Greenpeace, might as well demand the return of industrial scale whaling.

      The wee yappers don’t breed easily, those flat faces and breathing problems and anyway how much oil could be extracted from a pack of pekinese?

  7. Calvin Oaten

    Oil will be around for a while yet, but ‘peak debt’ is dampening demand, plus much of that debt has been used to massively overbuild the means of production. That together with the lowering of wages generally, once the ability to finance the essentials of housing food etc puts the damper on demand, we will see factories cut back production of inventories. You only have to see the stats on the ‘Baltic Dry Index’ which measures the freight shipping activity to see that freight movements are dropping alarmingly. Likewise with rail freight loadings. All this would point to oil being in the doldrums along with most commodities until the economies go through the painful exercise of recession/depression, debt removal or write down and economic sanity is restored. There is no sign at present of the “experts” controlling the ‘taps’ being brave enough to do the right thing. On our home front we see this in our DCC and its attitude to debt spending.

    If I were you Gurglars, I would be biding my time before investing in the oil business till the dust settles. It’s common knowledge that it is an industry which hugely debt funded recent developments in production increases via fracking, which pushed supply into surplus. Where the debt was viable at maybe $80 to $100 a barrel at $35 to $40 it threatens many with insolvency. Then there is Saudi Arabia determined to keep pumping to put that financial pressure on its competition. So between sharply increasing the supply into a sinking demand I think it will be quite some time if ever before oil sees good times again. The other factors are technology pushing ahead in bringing huge advances in alternative energy in both efficiencies and cost reductions. Solar power plus battery development is going to be huge as is the swing to electric vehicles. It won’t be overnight but it will happen. Nuclear is in resurgence as major power generation due to its cleanliness compared with oil and coal. The Greenies are pushing the CO2 nemesis as well so a lot of odds are stacked against any quick revival of oil.

    • @Calvin Oaten
      May 2, 2016 at 12:06 am

      You say “Nuclear is in resurgence as major power generation due to its cleanliness compared with oil and coal. The Greenies are pushing the CO2 nemesis as well so a lot of odds are stacked against any quick revival of oil.”

      But Calvin the Greenies are against nuclear too – what are they NOT against – well – they like windmills for god sake. Their intermitancy has proven to be inefficient while they are ruinous to the natural landscape. Solar still has storage problems that might take some time to resolve. So the practical alternatives to fossil fuels are pretty limited if you dismiss nuclear. We are fortunate in NZ that we have so much hydro developed before the likes of the RMA came to bear upon us.

      In these circumstances the Russian initiative in the Actic is a longer term consideration. Building fleets of icebreakers and oil platforms isn’t for the short term battles for oil domination that we are witnessing today. I would guess that it is for the period to bridge the gap between now and the development of nuclear and thorium. Apparently there are vast fossil reserves in the Arctic. As to investing in oil right now – agreed – lets wait until the dust settles. I think that the Saudi’s might be running out of steam with its oil battles – with Iran now coming ito the mix as a major supplier again.

      On Thorium extracted from wikipedia
      Current projects
      Research and development of thorium-based nuclear reactors, primarily the Liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR), MSR design, has been or is now being done in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, India, China, France, the Czech Republic, Japan, Russia, Canada, Israel and the Netherlands. Recognized experts, such as Hans Blix, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, calls for expanded support of new nuclear power technology, and states, “the thorium option offers the world not only a new sustainable supply of fuel for nuclear power but also one that makes better use of the fuel’s energy content.

  8. Elizabeth

    Received from Anonymous
    Sun, 1 May 2016 at 8:36 p.m.

    OFO Action Alert: Break Free from Fossil Fuels

    Oil Free Otago Action Alert 1.5.16

    Read event information here.

    • Oh Gawd. They quote ‘Weepy Bill McKibben’ in their blurb – that’s all you need to know. The ‘great environmental writer’ and founder of, Bill McKibben, said this at a Copenhagen rally of his ‘flock’. ‘I’ve spent the last few years working more than full time to organize the first big global grassroots climate change campaign’. – and here’s a quote from blubberguts Bill.

      ‘This afternoon I sobbed for an hour, and I’m still choking a little. I got to Copenhagen’s main Lutheran Cathedral just before the start of a special service designed to mark the conference underway for the next week. It was jammed, but I squeezed into a chair near the corner. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, gave the sermon; Desmond Tutu read the Psalm. Both were wonderful.
      But my tears started before anyone said a word.’

      Blood pathetic. And the sheeple follow.

    • Gurglars

      Just like the Tulip traders, the South Pacific bubble, the hi tech bubble, 2k bug and other lemminglike schemes including introducing decimal currency so dumb kids could add up, this climate change mass hysteria fades into insignificance when one views the scope and effects of a major solar flare on the sun. Here’s one, and remember that the sun is many times larger than the earth and this is a big flare! (Second sequence)

  9. Calvin Oaten

    The ‘sledge hammer’ approach of the protesters will only harden the ‘fossil fuel’ industry and be counter productive. Apart from the ‘feel good of the do gooders’ nothing will change. Oil will always be a factor in life, as it is the basis for so many good things which the masses neither appreciate nor understand. It has been said that ‘oil’ is too valuable to burn.
    The place to dampen down fossil fuels burning is in the market place. March the streets shouting “foster research in alternatives, let technology and business come forth with the answers,” That way it will happen, if not today then sooner than we might think. The ‘Luddite’ protesters wanting to universally ban fossil fuels without thinking it through is akin to ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater.’ Simply turning the clock back and expecting people to retreat from where they are, back to ‘sackcloth and ashes’ will never fly. Nor will it do anything half as good as the market to stall the ‘mythical threat of Climate Change’. Back off I say and campaign for R&D.

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    Good move, well worth supporting. What was wrong with the Bronze Age,eh?


  11. Elizabeth

    People on the street, frustrated by the protest, told me the protestors were Dave and Jinters’ friends. Nah, surely not.

    Fri, 13 May 2016
    ODT: Anger over protesters’ blockade of banks (+ video)
    Protesters have been slammed on social media for blocking an elderly woman from an ANZ branch in Dunedin yesterday. Otago Daily Times Facebook page readers condemned the action of about 100 people protesting about climate change at three ANZ Bank branches in George St.

    Link received Tue, 10 May 2016 2:21 PM

    OIL FREE OTAGO [absolute bloody nutters]
    Break Free Dunedin 2016
    Break Free, the global movement of action against fossil fuels, is underway. We have never faced an injustice as great as climate change. We need to scale up our response to match the urgency of the crisis. Cont/

  12. Gurglars

    Injustice of Climate Change!!!

    So now Solar Flares, black spots, volcanoes, Earthquakes and tidal waves are MORAL issues. Good Grief, I thought that worshipping gods of the Sun, moon and stars went out with the Ark.

  13. Elizabeth

    Otago Daily Times Published on May 11, 2016
    Protesters blasted for blocking elderly customer from entering ANZ bank

    One of the protesters, Rosemary Penwarden, was critical of the response from police and ANZ to the 120 people who blockaded the banks.

    Sat, 14 May 2016
    ODT: ‘Respect’ call after protesters bar entry (+ video)
    An 85-year-old woman blocked from entering a Dunedin ANZ has called on protesters to have “more respect for people”. Police on Thursday had to assist Margaret Saunders, who was on her monthly trip to the bank, over climate change protesters who were blocking three George St ANZ branches.

    █ ANZ: A decision was made not to close the banks as there were no other branches within easy walking distance.

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