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Govt still don't have power consumers at heart

Max Bradford

National Spokesperson for Economic Development

Tuesday 3 October 2000

Labour and Alliance still don't have power consumers at heart

The Government's response to the Caygill Electricity Inquiry is a wimp out, National spokesperson for Economic Development and Former Energy Minister Max Bradford said today.

"It is clear the Energy Minister does not have the interests of consumers at heart.

"After all the noise last year about regulation of monopoly lines companies the Government has wimped out of putting any form of regulation directly on to electricity monopolies."

Pete Hodgson was on the record last June stating 'lines companies are natural monopolies, and natural monopolies must be regulated which is why we asked for that and begged for it a year ago, but we didn't get it' P.Hodgson Hansard 1.6.99

"But he hasn't taken that action. All he has done is threaten to use regulation if lines companies exceed some undefined threshold.

"This does not represent any change from the present situation.

"It is ironic that the Government threat includes CPI-minus-X regulation. If Labour and the Alliance had put consumers ahead of politics last year this would have been place for months now and consumers would not have faced the sort of price increases they have for over a year.

"Now they will still be waiting for any benefit.

"The bulk of the proposals outlined today overload the industry with a whole panoply of rules and threats - just because the Government is not brave enough to directly regulate the companies."

Mr Bradford said National welcomed the moves to have the Commerce Commission look at the asset values of the line companies.

"It is clear much of the increased prices faced by consumers were the result of local monopoly lines companies passing on increased prices from asset valuations, a conclusion supported by the Caygill Inquiry."

Ends

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