Norway’s Statoil is one of the major international investors in oil exploration in the New Zealand jurisdiction.
Statoil (State oil) operations include among others the 28,000 square kilometre permit in the East Coast and Pegasus basins, southeast off New Zealand’s North Island.
Norway was among the most fervent backers of the Paris Climate accords.
Norway with a population similar to New Zealand’s has accumulated from its oil developments a sovereign wealth fund superior to Saudi Arabia’s.
At a time when New Zealand is in the throes of shutting down its oil exploration sector, Norway, held up as an example of nationwide Green values, seeks to develop its already immense resources.
The fact that this Green-revered nation is also one of the major current oil explorers in the New Zealand jurisdiction has been deliberately ignored.
The Statoil revelations come at the same time as indications that under pressure to appease its doctrinal wing the Labour coalition government introduced the exploration ban even when it was receiving indications of the presence in New Zealand of Mycoplasma bovis.
So far officials have sat on the real problem which is that the existence of the pathogen in New Zealand will give international buyers, already looking at a global over-supply, the opportunity to break contracts.
The plausibility notion behind the original anti- oil campaign was to allow New Zealand, in its own popular parlance, to “punch above its weight” in international forums of the well-intentioned kind.
Now, in contrast, New Zealand is looking silly having wilfully signalled the end of a major locomotive, pulling, force in its economy at a time when its main force, dairy, was entering a period, to put it mildly, of uncertainty.
This in turn is compounded because the main region of oil exploration and production in New Zealand is Taranaki which also happens to be a key dairying region.
Promises to fill the economic vacuum pivot on pumping money into the region and as yet for no specified purpose.
There are vague assurances that these public fill-in funds will be used in some way to stimulate Taranaki tourism which is already considered to be well-invested in part due to the exacting demands of international oil industry personnel.
In effect this money will simply be scraped off existing budgets for core areas of government expenditure, notably in the social welfare realm.
Unlike Norway, New Zealand has no sovereign fund to deal with these emergencies and must simply divert revenues from other areas.
An emerging issue is the degree to which the constant diversion of funds from essential services was behind cut backs in bio security surveillance that allowed the Mycoplasma bovis pathogen to get the grip it did.
Also worrying as the coalition Labour government seeks to reconcile its doctrinal component, far more radical and influential as it turns out than was expected, is the value of tourism as an antidote in Taranaki.
The low cost tourism for which New Zealand is famed is a major headache environmentally for Taranaki local governments.
Mass tourism is also considered a threat to bio security.
The attempt so early in its term by the Labour coalition to give the world a pristine example of how the world should be run is increasingly having the opposite effect of the one intended.