Power Package Right Direction But Not Enough
3 October 2000
POWER PACKAGE MOVES IN RIGHT DIRECTION
BUT NOT ENOUGH
“The power package announced by the Minister of Energy is a move in the right direction but leaves a number of concerns unanswered,“ said New Zealand First Energy Spokesperson, Peter Brown.
“Frankly line companies should be regulated and exemptions issued to only those who prove they are operating to the Commerce Commission‘s total satisfaction. The method proposed by the Government is the reverse. It represents selective regulation and will not necessarily solve the core issue.
“Further, the Minister should specifically review the implementation of a minimum charge for elderly and low fixed income earners who are low energy users. The Minister wants this concern left to Select Committee. We believe that is not good enough and urge the Minister to set up a review team to specifically address how this is best achieved.
“A third area of concern is that Mr Caygill is likely to become the Chair of the Governance Board. This is unacceptable to New Zealand First as his track record gives us little confidence in his ability.
“We accept that the governance board proposed in the Minister’s package will be set up by the industry but we note the independent members will be appointed after consultation with the Minister.
“He can therefore veto Mr Caygill’s appointment. It is not acceptable to New Zealand First that the Minister introduces “Back stop” regulations to control the board, in the event that it departs from government policy, but allow it to be Chaired by a man who devoted much of his political life to the selling of taxpayer assets, and whose 1990 budget and BNZ oversight was nothing short of a political disgrace,” concluded Peter Brown.