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Brownlee returns to nineteenth century

Brownlee returns to nineteenth century

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today called Gerry Brownlee's latest outburst a return to the 19th century.

"Mr Brownlee calls for us to abandon the development of renewable energy resources because the price of fossil fuels is going to rise. The logic of this escapes me," she said.

"His call for more incentives for oil and gas exploration shows how ill-informed his party is. A new gas field (Pohokura) has been discovered and is awaiting development - the question is what the price is going to be.

"If he thinks new oil and gas finds will be as cheap as Maui he is dreaming. The cheapest structures are always explored first, and Maui was only cheap because of a contract that forced us to waste it."

The end of Maui and expected rises in fuel prices gave the opportunity to take a different direction, invest in using energy much more efficiently and develop solar, wind and biomass applications, she said.

"This is what my Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act is fostering, with the new national energy efficiency and conservation strategy and the target for renewables. "At a time when the world is looking for renewable energy sources, Gerry Brownlee is looking to dig us into an even bigger hole with his visionless tirade," said Ms Fitzsimons. "Previous National governments were responsible for New Zealand's dependency on non-renewable energy white elephants like the Motunui Synfuel plant which lost the taxpayer hundreds of millions. Now they appear set to repeat these mistakes from the past.

"Mr Brownlee wants a quick-fix to rising energy prices, yet I suggest he has his head in the clouds if he thinks the exploration and development of a gas field could happen any sooner than the wind farms and efficiency initiatives already under way under the strategy.

"It is a legacy of National's failed short-sighted policies that New Zealand's energy efficiency ranks poorly with other developed nations, so we need to use what resources we have more wisely instead of desperately searching for more fuels to burn as Mr Brownlee would have us do.

"Surely he would want us at the top of the OECD energy efficiency league table, too?"

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