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Urgent Plan needed - Councillor Paul Bruce

Urgent Plan needed - Media statement - Councillor Paul Bruce

"A Community Resiliency Plan is urgently needed to address possible energy supply disruptions, " says Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Paul Bruce. "Energy prices are rising because global oil demand continues to exceed global oil production and we have not planned an orderly transition to alternatives. One aspect of this was the need to raise Regional Council rates to cover increased diesel prices."

"The International Energy Agency is warning of oil supply problems in the coming year, and Goldman Sachs predicts oil price rises taking petrol above $3 a litre by the end of the year, said Cr Bruce.

Cr Bruce is urging GW to consider shifting planned expenditure on new roads such as Transmission Gully to capital items such as light rail, removing rail network bottlenecks, and installing new cycle ways. "To ensure long term resiliency in the face of continued oil price increases, we need to adapt by shifting expenditure from transport which is dependent on oil to transport which is not, and then look at other areas that will be affected".

Mr Bruce said that many aspects of society - transport, agriculture, trade, tourism, and manufacturing, to name just a few - are heavily dependent on oil, and continuing oil price rises, and possible supply shortages may lead to severe impacts on the Wellington region's economy, and widen the gap between rich and poor. Appropriate use and management of such resources will be critical in meeting our lifestyle needs in the future. Therefore, it is important that a Community Resilience Plan be developed, involving all sectors including community groups, to investigate the effects of oil depletion and oil price rises, and recommend steps that they should take to prepare for and mitigate these impacts.

Whether the underlying reasons for this are geological, economic, or both, the effect is that the cost of fuel in New Zealand has increased rapidly. Potentially the Wellington region has enough renewable energy resources to support the region's electricity needs. However, as the current global food crisis shows, the price of oil affects far more than just transport, although it is transport where the effect is felt first.

Resolutions:

1) Investigate effects of oil price rises and potential shortages on the Wellington region

2) Recommend steps to prepare for and mitigate impacts on transport, agriculture, trade, tourism, manufacturing…

3) Convene a forum to bring key players and interest groups to set terms of reference for formulating a Community Resilience Plan.

ends


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