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Leadership Over Electricity Desperately Needed

It is up to the Minister of Energy to assure the public that there will be adequate electricity supply for households and businesses this winter, National's Energy spokesperson Pansy Wong said today.

"It is an urgent priority that the public be given the confidence in the integrity of the electricity market.

"Price hikes, elderly left in the cold, low South Island hydro lake levels, market dominance of state-owned generators, and finger pointing within the industry are all leading to the public's sense of helplessness and undermining confidence.

Mrs Wong said it's time for Pete Hodgson to exercise leadership rather than continuing to act as a bystander.

"The Market Surveillance Panel Inquiry called by On Energy is unlikely to unravel any serious breaches. While no one's doubting its expertise, its terms of reference will only ensure that operators follow the rules. The panel can not assure the public that electricity will be available.

"The seriousness of the electricity price hikes and supply for this winter must be acknowledged by the Minister, rather than brushed off. Let's not forget that warmer spring weather is three months away.

"The Minister can not shelve responsibility by relying on improving weather forecasts. He must act now," Pansy Wong said


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