Or was that Patrick Douglas?
No, it was Murray Douglas, joined by Apache’s Alex Ferguson, ranting about environmentalists, as faithfully
reported transcribed yesterday by HB Today’s business writer, Patrick O’Sullivan.
Murray was banging on those he calls “well poisoners” who, as he sees it, are woefully ill-informed about the benefits of fracking (“a bonanza”) and dam building in Hawke’s Bay. It seems that environmentalists have doomed (or are about to doom), through a mischievous “one-sided environmental debate”, two of the Chamber of Commerce’s favourite initiatives to restore Hawke’s Bay to its glory years (the rich 1950s) .
In fact, the only reason the fracking debate has been one sided in Hawke’s Bay is because Apache/TAG have refused to engage. I’ve seen a number of thoughtful, carefully-researched presentations to Councils by those concerned about fracking. I don’t recall Murray Douglas attending any of those. Nor did Apache/TAG show up to correct the “misinformation”. Reporter O’Sullivan quotes Apache spokesman Alex Ferguson at great unchallenged length spouting off about misinformation “creating this fear and anxiety-ridden environment”. Yet Ferguson has never agreed to debate the issue in an open public forum in Hawke’s Bay.
As for the dam, environmentalists are simply, at this point, asking all the questions the Regional Council itself says they legitimately should be asking. Environmentalists involved in the stakeholder group appointed by HBRC are studying carefully the materials that are just emerging from the feasibility study on the dam. Even the HBRC — except, apparently, when it is talking to Murray and the Chamber — admits that there are plenty of answers still to be given as to whether acknowledged adverse environmental impacts can be effectively mitigated … to say nothing as to whether the project is economically viable or even passes the sniff test with farmers in Central Hawke’s Bay.
I doubt Murray has seen or studied any of this material. And so in one respect he’s absolutely right … “It is a debate we have to have…” However, Murray seems to have pre-judged the outcome.
The Chamber’s anti-environmental rhetoric is vintage Chamber scare-mongering. It’s decades old horse manure … globally spread … I’ve heard it recited from Washington DC to, now, Hawke’s Bay New Zealand. It’s tired, worn-out, irrelevant.
Smart business people, and there are plenty in New Zealand, know that businesses of the future must be grounded in environmental sustainability. Check out Pure Advantage or The Sustainable Business Council, where many of NZ’s business heavy-hitters hang out … no 1950s thinking in these groups.
So c’mon Murray. Both of these projects can stand a few months of careful scrutiny without catastrophe befalling us. Push for more jobs in Hawke’s Bay. But not just any jobs. And not at any price. You know better.