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Power Saving Campaign Must Be Resumed

Power Saving Campaign Must Be Resumed

Monday, September 24 2001 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Energy


ACT Energy Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff has written to Minister Pete Hodgson urging him to resume the power saving campaign.

"I think it was a serious mistake to end the campaign two weeks ago. We escaped power blackouts by the skin of our teeth, but there are very clear indications of trouble ahead.

"I've always thought the real power crisis is likely next winter. In my 30 years of farming, I can't recall such a dry August-September as we've had. All the signs are that it will be a dry summer.

"The Minister has already conceded that if the spring rains don't come we will start next year with lakes at low levels ' whereas we began this year with high levels. Why take that huge risk?

"It is incumbent on the Minister to take the lead. As well as fronting a new saving campaign himself, the Minister can also use the influence he has with the state-owned generators to ensure that they are responsible and that they take the initiative in encouraging sensible power usage.

"By resuming the saving campaign the Minister could remove any suspicion that the Government is prepared to risk another crisis in order to maximise profits from its generating companies.

"Clearly this Government is under financial pressure and the Air New Zealand crisis is only increasing that. However, there should be no question of the long-term interests of New Zealanders being put at risk by short-term fiscal expediency.

"The prudent course in the interests of the country would be to continue with the drive to save power and to keep educating people about the use of power. That is the way to ensure we don't face the prospect of power blackouts next year ' not just by placing our trust in favourable weather. For the good of the country Pete Hodgson must reconsider," Gerry Eckhoff said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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