by Gareth Hughes
Oil and gas royalties have been in the media a bit lately and the Government are throwing around all sorts of figures.
Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley has been a cheer-leading expanding the oil and gas industry in New Zealand but the economic benefits aren’t all they are stacked up to be. New Zealand has the forth lowest ‘take’ of producer nations (royalties plus taxes) so we sell ourselves pretty cheaply. The Government is reviewing this at the moment but raising royalties on oil and gas is off the agenda. We know there are few jobs for New Zealanders with deep-sea drilling, low royalties, numerous tax exemptions and given they will be foreign investors, the profits will flow offshore. The taxpayer could also be left with the environmental consequences, a big carbon credit and oil spill clean-up bills.
Why would we risk our environment and valuable clean green brand for the fourth lowest Government take in the world?