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Electricity Inquiry Work Already Done - Nats

Pansy Wong, MP
Opposition Energy Spokesperson

3 February 2000

Electricity inquiry work already done

Pete Hodgson's just announced Government inquiry into the electricity industry will be nothing more than an expensive junket for highly paid consultants, National's energy spokeswomen Pansy Wong said today.

"Why on earth he needs a team of officials to travel around the world looking at other countries electricity arrangements is quite beyond me.

"Given the terms of reference released by the Minister, National would be very surprised if this new inquiry finds anything that differs from the findings of similar inquiries conducted by the previous Minister Max Bradford. In effect, the work has already been done by the previous Government.

"What New Zealanders want are cheaper power prices now, not sometime in the distant future. The way to achieve that is through regulation of the prices that line companies can set.

"The Minister is kicking for touch - the work has already been done. Both the Ernst and Young report released yesterday and the Ministry of Commerce's report on electricity prices released last month confirmed the need to regulate line companies prices. National had this legislation ready for passage last August but Labour stymied the legislation at that stage, and thousands of households were denied cheaper power prices as a result.

"National suggests that the Minister dust off this legislation and get it back on the parliamentary agenda. I will guarantee him National's support for its passage and it will be cheaper than the world-wide fact finding junket that Mr Hodgson has announced today.

"What we all want is cheaper power prices for New Zealand consumers. Labour has a chance to redeem itself now by introducing the regulatory legislation that it refused to support last year," Mrs Wong said.

Ends

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