Terrence M Loomis (Dr) - Institute for Governance and Policy Studies

Terrence M Loomis (Dr)
Terrence Loomis holds an MA (1st Hons) in Social Anthropology from Auckland University and a
PhD in Economic Anthropology from the University of Adelaide. He has over 15 years research and
development consulting experience in the US, Canada, Australia, the Pacific and New Zealand. He
was Director of Economic Development for the Mdewakanton Dakota tribe of Prairie Island,
Minnesota for four years and holds a certificate in Economic Development Finance from the National
Development Council of America. Between 1997-2000 he was Foundation Professor of Development
Studies in the School of Maori and Pacific Development at Waikato University, before becoming a
social sector policy advisor with the New Zealand government. He is currently an independent
researcher, and during 2015 will be a Visiting Research Scholar in the Institute for Governance and
Policy Studies at Victoria University.
Research project – The Political Economy of Oil & Gas Development in New Zealand
In 2008 the newly-elected National coalition government began work on what was to become the
Business Growth Agenda, a framework for ‘sustainable growth’ that would aimed at among other
things doubling commodity exports by 2025. An important component of that Agenda was
government’s 2009 Oil and Gas Strategy. In order to facilitate the opening of the country’s natural
resources to expanded exploration, the government put together a coordinated package of legislative
reforms (RMA, Crown Minerals Act, Local Government Act, EEZ). The effect of this package was
to systematically dismantle key components of the ‘sustainable development’ policy framework put in
place by previous governments dating back to the 1980s. At the same time, the National Government
appears to have embarked on a coherent and increasingly sophisticated promotional campaign in
collaboration with the oil and gas industry to attract international exploration companies, address
public concerns about the impacts of drilling, assist pro-Oil advocates, and marginalise environmental
Dr Loomis seeks to place these developments in the context of the global ‘unconventional’ shale and
tight oil boom and concerns over climate change. He is interested in comparing New Zealand’s
experience to date with overseas studies regarding how petroleum companies have sought to shape
government policy, avoid or water down regulations, dominate public discourse and combat local
protest movements. He is also interested in examining how communities and local governments here
and overseas have been impacted by such developments and how they are responding. Although it is
early days yet and low oil prices have slowed exploration, this research will hopefully contribute to a
heightened public debate about the role, if any, expanded oil and gas development has in New
Zealand’s future.