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NZ's love affair with energy unabated

17 August 2000

NZ's love affair with energy unabated

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today called for financial incentives for alternatives to energy waste, after figures showed New Zealand's love affair with energy is continuing.

The latest Energy Data File released today shows continuing high growth in energy use - especially in petrol and coal, two of the major contributors to climate change."

Ms Fitzsimons said the drop in LPG off-setting the rise in petrol was especially worrying.

"Petrol has higher harmful emissions, and is a deadweight on our balance of payments in contrast to domestically produced LPG which is also cleaner," she said.

"Surely it would be cheaper in the long run for the Government to promote cars switching to LPG, instead of letting it languish alongside even cleaner natural gas, CNG, which is pretty much dead in the water after years of Government neglect."

Ms Fitzsimons said patterns of high energy use would never change until the financial incentives rewarded low energy use.

"It's important to educate people about how to save energy, but if the financial incentives work in favour of using more energy, then what chance is there you're ever going to change people's behaviour?"

Ms Fitzsimons said the high fixed costs charged by electricity companies was another example of incentives working the wrong way.

"The ideal situation from an efficiency and equity point of view would be for zero fixed costs - which would reward people for cutting back on electricity use.

"The Government says they are all in favour of energy efficiency, but until they make sure that pricing signals reflect their policy, we're going to keep heading down the wrong path," she said.


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