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Dobson Logical Answer To Power Shortfall

Dobson Logical Answer To Power Shortfall

Hon Bill English - National Party Leader

Opposition attacks Conservation Minister’s rejection

Conservation Minister Chris Carter is putting at risk the economic development of the upper South Island with his rejection of the Dobson power project, says National Leader Bill English.

“This is a knee-jerk decision without any consideration of the very real power shortage problems the upper South Island in facing. Transpower issued a security of supply warning for all consumers north of Twizel this last winter. They warned consumers they may face blackouts.

“Government policy needs to provide for viable sources of new generation. Its decision to ratify Kyoto will in effect eliminate the option of thermal generation from coal or gas. Further hydro generation will also be impossible if such a rigid ideological viewpoint is taken that all conservation land is sacrosanct.

“National believes the Dobson Hydro Scheme is the most environmentally sound and economically viable solution to the electricity supply problem in the upper South Island. The scheme minimizes the investment in new transmission, reduces the exposure to dry-year risks on the East Coast and avoids increased greenhouse gas emissions.

“National will sponsor special legislation to enable a land swap to occur between the Grey District Council’s Mt Buckley land holdings and the Department of Conservation’s Card Creek Ecological Reserve.

“The area affected is only a small part of the Reserve, is heavily modified, and is not pristine West Coast wilderness. Transpower will still need to obtain the necessary resource consents through the normal process and provide the $150 million for the project.

“National will be seeking support from across the Parliament for the legislation including from Labour MP’s in the regions. It would be an act of extreme selfishness for Parliament to deny the West Coast access to just 0.03% of their conservation land so they might be self-sufficient in electricity.

“No one will thank Mr Carter if the lights go out or power prices go through the roof for protecting this healthy stand of West Coast gorse,” said Mr English.


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