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Greens brighten over electricity policy statement

Greens brighten over electricity policy statement

07 December 2000

The Greens are happy that the Government policy statement on electricity released this afternoon covers all the issues of greatest concern to the Greens - in terms of the present electricity shambles.

Ms Fitzsimons said today the Greens negotiation with the Government had lead to significant improvements in the policy statement and the proposed auditing of the industry board.

"It is no secret that the Greens have major reservations about the industry self-governance model proposed for electricity. The board will inevitably be a club of people with vested interests. The parties not properly represented will be the consumer and the environment."

"However the two major amendments that we have negotiated have eased our concerns by providing more protection for consumers," said Ms Fitzsimons.

The Greens have ensured that the policy statement requires the spilling of hydro water to be minimised and publicly reported; gas to be used efficiently; costs to be under downward pressure, arrangements for security of supply, fostering of new technologies and renewables, and a set of protections for consumers, especially small consumers.

Secondly the performance of the industry will be audited against this policy statement and reported to Parliament by two independent authorities, the Auditor-General and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

"If they report publicly that the industry has failed to perform, it will be difficult for the Minister not to take action," said Ms Fitzsimons. "The first audit of the industry after the passage of this bill will be awaited with great interest."

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 025 586 068 Gina Dempster, press secretary: (04) 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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