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BANZ congratulates Air NZ on biofuels flight

9 January 2009

MEDIA STATEMENT


BANZ congratulates Air NZ on biofuels flight and urges others to follow their lead

The Bioenergy Association of New Zealand (BANZ) has congratulated Air New Zealand on its recent biofuels test flight and urges other transport fuel users to follow their lead. However BANZ says they should seek out supplies of sustainably grown fuels that are readily available in New Zealand. BANZ says that the high profile use of biofuels by the national airline is a great boost to the sector and gives credibility to the ‘clean green’ image that New Zealand sells overseas.

Speaking today, Brian Cox, Executive Officer of BANZ said that as the national airline Air New Zealand is leading the charge for New Zealand’s transport services to use sustainably grown liquid biofuels. Mr Cox said, “This test flight confirms that it’s indeed possible to fly a plane using biofuels. This is good news for the biofuels sector in New Zealand and a good look for Air New Zealand at a time when being green could just be the point of difference between them and their competitors. It’s an opportunity in the making. However for many transport operators New Zealand has quality biofuel resources on its own doorstep – there’s no need to import them.”

He said that “While the quantity of fuel needed by Air New Zealand for use in its jets is not yet able to be supplied locally, there are adequate supplies of domestically produced biofuel already available that meet quality standards and could be used by Air NZ in its ground operations at airports nationwide and for that matter by a host of other large transport operators. This is a great opportunity for New Zealand companies to buy ‘New Zealand made’”.

Following on from the recent legislative change where the government has removed the mandatory requirement for biofuels. Mr Cox said “If high profile companies like Air New Zealand can commit to using biofuels then the future for sustainably grown New Zealand biofuels could be secured”. Mr Cox said that the advantages to ‘New Zealand Inc’ were significant. “Millions of tourists who believe the ‘clean green image’ that New Zealand portrays to the world will see the evidence of it as they arrive to New Zealand in a plane fuelled with biofuels, leave the airport in a biodiesel fuelled bus, or hire a bioethanol fuelled car. This is exactly the evidence that backs up the image”.

Mr Cox said, “Our key advantage as a country is the wide range of existing resources for making biofuels available in New Zealand such as tallow, used cooking oil, rotational oil seed crops, whey and a growing jatropha resource. These resources are sustainable and moreover, are amongst the best performers in terms of net green house gas emission reductions. Add to that the ‘win-win’ potential.
Mr Cox added, the recent change in legislation has removed the ‘mandatory’ biofuel requirements. These requirements would have meant that biofuels would have had to make up 0.5% of oil companies' annual sales in New Zealand and that threshold would increase annually to reach 2.5% by 2012. When the National led Government repealed the Biofuels Bill in December it also signalled proposals for introduction of a positive incentive system that would provide a separate tax credit for bioethanol, biodiesel and other renewable energy. Mr Cox said, “The repeal of the biofuels obligation is significantly affecting our Members who are well advanced in developing production facilities and consequently BANZ is keen to work with the Government to ensure that alternative policies are put in place as soon as possible – we need them to support current suppliers and to provide confidence for new investors. It’s down to the industry to make this work and that will be our focus going forward.”

Mr Cox went on to add “Current biofuel suppliers have shown that even without a sales mandate the biofuels industry in New Zealand has a distinct advantage with its range of biofuel sources in niche applications. Along with this what Air New Zealand has done is a great first step and a great good news story for biofuels. But the opportunity for New Zealand will arise from making increased use of our own sustainably grown biofuels.”

Mr Cox also noted the opportunity for other players in the New Zealand tourist sector to use biofuels and so cement the ‘green’ image. He also highlighted the opportunity for New Zealand’s key food exporters saying that biofuels offered these exporters an advantage in terms of being able to reduce their ‘carbon footprint’. The issue of so called ‘food miles’ received considerable coverage in the press some months ago. Sustainably grown New Zealand biofuels present a carbon free fuel solution for both of these groups.


ENDS

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