Terrence M Loomis (Dr) Mini-Bio 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 activism. 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.
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