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Power crisis – Solution is obvious!

Power crisis – Solution is obvious!

To get Aucklanders and the rest of New Zealand strongly committed to the campaign to use less power this winter, Government needs to take strong leadership and responsibility to immediately unveil the obvious permanent solution to the crisis – a large capacity fossil burning power station.

Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, was responding to overnight announcements by Energy Minister Pete Hodgson of plans for more hydro-generation plants and grant and loan schemes to encourage low-income homes to use solar water heating.

“It is simply not good enough for Mr Hodgson to expect New Zealanders to sign up to saving power when all he can offer as a solution is promises of more hydro power stations and low level conservation incentives,” said Mr Barnett.

“Every second winter we have a power crisis because there is not enough water in our lakes and rivers to generate the power the nation needs. It is time to face the fact that building more hydro power stations won’t provide a permanent solution. For the last 30 years we have under built energy infrastructure and relied on the weather to provide the water we need.”

In the meantime we have added a million people and built an urban-based economy with double the number of businesses requiring electricity to stay alive. “We are a nation of 4 million people trying to run a first-world economy on 3rd-world infrastructure for 3 million people.”

A fundamental change in policy and attitude is needed by Government – to build a large capacity fossil-burning plant that makes New Zealand independent of the weather and gives business hard evidence that we have additional generating capacity for uptake in future years.

“To cut to the solution requires far-sighted government with a mind for a bold decision to break from the tradition of under-building basic infrastructure. The same mind set could also be brought to solving the transport and water shortage issues.”

“With firm and honest plans unveiled for a permanent solution, I am confident Auckland businesses would be persuaded to do more to help this winter,” concluded Mr Barnett. “But in the absence of firm government leadership to provide a solution that is believable, businesses are understandably reluctant to cut production that eats into their firm’s profitability.”

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