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Decision Against Calling In Resource Consents

15 May 2001 Media Statement

MINISTER DECIDES AGAINST CALLING IN RESOURCE CONSENTS


The Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, has decided against "calling in" the application by Contact Energy for resource consents for a new gas-fired power station at Otahuhu.

"Calls to use the call-in provisions of the Resource Management Act to achieve climate change, energy efficiency, and renewable energy objectives are misdirected given the strength of the policies that the Government has in place or is developing," Marian Hobbs said.

"These include last October’s Power Package and the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy being developed this year."

The Minister said anybody considering investing in new thermal power stations would be wise to consider fully the risks to their project from emerging climate change and renewable energy policy.

"The Government has issued an Energy Policy Framework which clearly states its commitment to a sustainable and efficient energy future," Marian Hobbs said. "This includes a progressive transition to renewable sources of energy.
"In the Government’s Policy Statement for Electricity (the Power Package), the Minister of Energy, Pete Hodgson, made it clear to the electricity industry that the Government expects greenhouse gases and hydro spill to be minimised.
"The electricity industry faces regulation if it does not achieve these and other objectives.

"When he launched the Draft National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy in March this year, the Minister of Energy indicated that increasing New Zealand’s use of environmentally-friendly energy sources was one of its cornerstones."

Officials are working to identify the most appropriate path for New Zealand to take towards a renewable energy future and the most appropriate mechanisms to guide the country along that path. The Government expects to give clearer direction on this in the final National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, being released by October 1 this year.

"Irrespective of what other countries may not be doing, New Zealand is committed to developing and implementing a robust package of measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions," Marian Hobbs said.

"While we may be a small player on the international scene, we are not small when it comes to leadership. I am confident this Government can produce a mix of policy and education initiatives to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

"The latest greenhouse gas inventory shows that emissions are still rising, with carbon dioxide emissions in 1999 about 19% higher than in 1990 and transport sector emissions continuing to grow rapidly, and now amounting to almost 40% of New Zealand’s total CO2 emissions."

Finalising a practical domestic policy package will involve consultation with all New Zealanders.

The Kyoto Protocol commits New Zealand to work towards returning its emissions of greenhouse gases back to 1990 levels, on average, over 2008-2012, or take responsibility for emissions above 1990 levels if it cannot meet that target.
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