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Govt to support Energy Efficiency Bill

The Government will support the passage into law of Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons' Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill, Minister of Energy Pete Hodgson said today.

Mr Hodgson said the Government and Ms Fitzsimons had negotiated some changes to the original bill, which would be effected by a Supplementary Order Paper. The bill is due for its committee stage in Parliament on Wednesday.

"The Government is committed to improving New Zealand's energy efficiency, which is the purpose of this bill," Mr Hodgson said.

"Labour supported Ms Fitzsimons' bill when it was introduced 18 months ago. I am pleased we have been able to reach agreement with the Greens on some practical changes that enable us to support the bill's passage into law."

The main effect of the bill will be to create a statutory obligation on the Minister of Energy to promote energy efficiency, energy conservation and the use of renewable energy in New Zealand. The minister will be obliged to prepare and publicly notify a draft national energy efficiency and conservation strategy by 1 December 2000.

The bill will also establish the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) as a stand-alone Crown entity, with its primary policy and control responsibilities provided by the Minsitry for the Environment. EECA is presently part of the Ministry of Economic Development, but has no statutory authority and no clear governance system. Its new structure is likely to be in place by 1 July 2000.

"Energy efficiency offers gains for industry, the consumer and the environment," Mr Hodgson said. "Nobody loses. For that reason it makes perfect sense for the Government to have an energy efficiency strategy and I am happy to have that responsibility.

"I am pleased that EECA will now have a formal role within the state sector. Its two years of perpetual review under the previous Government have come to a close. It can now proceed unhindered to make an important contribution to the climate change issues facing the new Government."

ends

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