Wednesday, February 14, 2007

We can't believe that, Mr. Manning

If Manning truly believes that the Chatam smelter activists are motivated by drug-running, then he is either living in a dream world or is poorly advised.

If on the other hand he expects that we will believe his outrageous pronouncements, then he clearly thinks little of our intelligence as a people.

In either case we are truly labouring under a crisis in leadership of the highest order.

If he is free to explain the apparent reversal of his decision regarding the smelter, then we must be free to put forward a studied alternative view. Try this one:

The failure of Ibis Deep to prove up commercial hydrocarbons and the poor showing in the ultra deep bid round, which only attracted one bidder, created a delay in the rate at which new commercial gas reserves could be brought on.

This required that gas-based projects including the smelter be similarly delayed. The Government’s delaying strategy was to relocate the smelter to an island that would take 12 years to build and settle, essentially giving the Government an additional 12 years to find more gas.

Then came the heavy lawyers and it is quite likely that this latest reversal in thinking has more to do with the Government’s precarious legal position with Alcoa than it does with the assertion that drug-running is what is driving the protest.

Nigel Darwent



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