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Conservation Policy Dams Growth

Conservation Policy Dams Growth

The decision by the Minister of Conservation to block the construction of a new hydro dam will retard our capacity to meet projected demands for growth.

“Modern economies run on electricity and security of supply is essential,” said John Walley, CEO of the Canterbury Manufacturers’ Association. “If we are to achieve the growth we need to achieve the standard of living that will return us to the top ranks of the OECD we must have more electricity generation.”

We place very high importance on the social obligations of government with spending on health and education near the top of the list. Yet this has to be paid for and the only way we can do this is by producing and selling a range of goods overseas.

There seem to be gaps between our economic, energy and conservation policies. Economic policies recognise and foster the need for growth in various ways but this recognition does not seem to have been extended to other government agencies. The Ministry for Energy warns that in 2005-2006 the amount of electricity consumed will equal the amount generated in a dry year. Meantime, the Department of Conservation seems determined to prevent human use of land, regardless of purpose, as much as possible. This lack of cohesion is counter-productive.

“Investment decisions are needed now to secure future electricity generation at a competitive price,” said Mr Walley. “ It is not good enough to urge us to produce more but deny us the means to do so.”

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