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Anadarko: Key playing with fire.

17 November 2011 9 comments

Ok, the Prime Minister wants to talks issues?  Let’s talk issues. Let’s talk about Anadarko…

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It seems that the “teapot Tapes” are not the only thing that John Key has been keeping from the public, according to some investigative digging by TV3 News,

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In normal circumstances it would seem unusual that a Prime Minister would keep such a top-level meeting secret. One would think that it should be quite a coup to have the a visiting CEO of such a large corporation visiting New Zealand. Especially where there is Big Money to be made.

Remember when Warner Bros  executives visited New Zealand in October last year – the visit was trumpetted by John Key, who laid on ministerial vehicles to chauffer the visiting movie VIPs around Wellington. No expense spared; no amount of publicity was enough; the PM had an opportunity to tell the country that he was In Command, and by golly, he wasn’t shy in showing it!

Which begs the question: why has John Key suddenly become shy about introducing his corporate guests from Anadarko,  to New Zealanders, as he did with our cuzzies from Warner Bros?

Why indeed.

Anadarko’s  role in the  Deepwater Horizon project – which spewed 627,000 tonnes of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico – was a 25% ownership interest in the Macondo Prospect, which was operated by BP.  As such, they were liable for a portion of the clean-up costs and BP duly obliged by presenting Anadarko with a US$4 billion clean-up bill.

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Explosion and fire at Deepsea Horizon Drilling Rig, 20 April 2010, killing 11 men and injuring 17 others.

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It should be noted that, at first, Anadarko refused any liability in the Gulf of Mexico disaster. In June 2010, BP billed Anadarko for $272 million for its share of cleanup  costs in the Gulf. Anadarko refused point blank, with CEO Jim Hackett stating,

““The mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that this tragedy was preventable and the direct result of BP’s reckless decisions and actions. BP’s behavior and actions likely represent gross negligence or willful misconduct and thus affect the obligations of the parties under the operating agreement.” ” Source

Anadarko’s attempt to evade their portion of liability didn’t work and they ended up with an even bigger bill. Not only that, but Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Anadarko’s credit rating from Baa3 to Ba1 – or junk status.

This is the company that John Key is considering dealing with and allowing to deep-sea drill in our waters,

  • Anadarko was partly-responsible for the Deepsea Horizon oil spill.
  • Anadarko attempted to escape it’s liabilities.
  • Anadarko refused to pay $272 million for its share of cleanup  costs in the Gulf.
  • Anadarko eventually settled with BP for $US4 billion.
  • Anadarko’s credit rating was downgraded to junk bond status. (Though Moody’s may review this rating.)

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One question that begs to be asked is how financially secure Anadarko is, after it’s payout to BP of US$4 billion?

Could Anadarko afford to pay for another massive clean-up, if one of it’s deep-sea drilling rigs suffered a similar calamity to the Deepsea Horizon explosion and oil spill?

And would it accept liability? It has already tried to evade its responsibilities once. The indication is clear, that Anadarko’s first priority is it’s own survival and profit bottom-line. Taking immediate responsibility  for a mishap – especially an expensive one – seems not to be part of their corporate mission statement.

Was John Key aware of any of this when he entertained James Hackett on Tuesday?

If  John Key was aware, why is he dealing with a company that tried to evade responsibility for a disaster, and now currently has a junk-bond credit rating?

How prudent is it, dealing with such a company?

Why was it done in secret?

And has John Key and his ministers learnt nothing from the recent ‘Rena’ stranding?!

Well, John Key wanted to get away from you-know-what, and discuss issues. Here is one issue that he might care to explain to the New Zealand people.

How about it, Mr Key? Are you up for discussing issues?

Preferably before 26 November.

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Contacts

Facebook: Save Otakou from Oil Drilling

Facebook: Anadarko OUT of Otakou!

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Additional reading

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Moody’s cuts Anadarko ratings to junk status

Meet Anadarko, The Oil Company Struggling To Get Off The Hook For The Gulf Spill

BP Bills Anadarko $272 Million In Gulf Spill Response

Anadarko and BP settle Deepwater Horizon dispute

Moody’s considers upping Anadarko debt rating after Deepwater settlement

Nats plan greater gas and oil exploitation

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It’s official: the media honeymoon is over.

17 November 2011 Leave a comment

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John Key’s use of Police to seize all material relating to the “Teapot Tapes” and associated media material is not only a substantial waste of police time and taxpayers’ money – it is verging on authoritarianism and abuse of state power,

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It should be abundantly clear by now that the Prime Minister’s statement that he is “comfortable” with the contents of the “Teapot Tapes” is abolute b******t.  He is far from “comfortable” – he seems to be in full-blown panic-mode, as evidenced by his walking out on his own press conference, yesterday,

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Source

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Since I’ve been interested in New Zealand politics, I cannot recall a Prime Minister having lost control of his own press conference and walking out.  As political commentators, journos, and other political figures have noted, Key has lost control of this matter.

Now for police to be searching and seizing all material related to the “Teapot Tapes”, is incredible. The Prime Minister is now using the full power of the State police apparatus to attempt to close down this issue by force.

It is unprecedented.

Key’s response to accusations that he is wasting precious police resources,  is that  National had lowered the crime rate across the country so police had a little bit of spare time and this was an important issue.

“…so police had a little bit of spare time…”

He makes it sound so innocuous. Nothing important to see here, folks, move along.

Key’s attempt to lighten the matter and make it into a trivial non-event is simply not going to work this time. The hole that the Prime Minister finds himself in is getting bigger – because he won’t stop digging.

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John Key could have closed down this entire problem if he had released the tapes immediatly, on the Monday following the Epsom “cuppa tea” meeting with Banks. An added “mea culpa” and one of his famous boyish grins – and he probably would’ve actually added another 50,000 votes to his Party’s polling.

The public, with their short-term political memory would’ve forgotten the whole incident after the first ad-break and Winston Peters would not be on a testosterone-laden, political jihad, to return to Parliament. Peters has the “oxygen” he needed to fire his ailing political campaign, and will probably crack the 5% threshold.

For John Key, this is his “paintergate” – and like Helen Clark, it is damaging his credibility with the public and damaging the cosy-relationship he had with the public.  It’s official, folks, the media-National honeymoon ended on Monday morning.

And I suspect that if Key persists in using Police powers to subdue this issue, then we’ll be seeing the “honeymoon” head straight to divorce.

The media do not like to be bullied. And more precisely, they cannot afford to let politicians dictate the media agenda. That road leads to unknown territory of authoritarianism.

Radio New Zealand’s Don Rood,  is right not to hand over material to the police,

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Source

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For John Key, I suspect this issue will hold negative consequences for National. I would not be surprised if the next poll has his Party sub-50%, and perhaps mid-40s.

With ACT failing at the polls in Epsom, it appears that Brash and Banks are dog-tucker.

Ditto for Peter Dunne, as his slim 1,006 vote majority may not be sufficient to return him to Parliament.

Which leaves a Labour-Green-? coalition waiting in the wings. A common maxim is that Oppositions do not win elections – governments lose them.

That was a very expensive cuppa tea in Epsom.

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+++ Updates +++

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News of this farce has reached overseas. Not a “good look”,

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Meanwhile, Police Association President, Greg O’Connor seems a bit bemused at Key’s remark that “police had a little bit of spare time” as a rationale for laying what could rightly be seen as  a pointless exercise that was more about political point-scoring, than actual any alleged wrong-doing,

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And even the international community is starting to notice and look askance at the Prime Minister’s actions,

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So to re-cap, John Key has managed to alienate and upset the following sectors in society and the international community,

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Not bad running for a week’s work…

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I thought candidates wanted to win?!

17 November 2011 Leave a comment

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It’s been fairly  clear that Paul Goldsmith, National’s “candidate” in Epsom, is seeking only the Party Vote, and that he and John Key are wanting Epslomites to vote for John Banks with their Electorate Vote.

Some folk are resisting this blatant manipulation and  trying to ‘unstitch’ this scheme, by ensuring that Goldsmith wins. (And not just ledftists, either. Quite a few National Party voters are intensely annoyed at what has transpired in their electorate.)

Even though Goldsmith doesn’t want to win.

But people are going hell-for-leather to make sure he does and Banks doesn’t.

Despite Goldsmith not wanting to win.

The question then arises; if – as it seems likely – Paul Goldsmith wins the Epsom Electorate, will he  resign a few weeks later,  thereby forcing a by-election?

It’s entirely possible.

Elect a man who doesn’t want the job. Put him into Parliament. Then watch him resign.

Is that National’s “Plan B”?

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