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Double standard over power stations

Double standard over power stations

National is accusing the Government of double standards over its refusal to consider hydro development on a DOC reserve at Dobson, while actively encouraging a new wind generating station on DOC reserve land in Wellington.

"This is total hypocrisy," says National's Environment spokesman, Nick Smith. "The Conservation Minister is refusing point-blank to consider a 75 MW hydro-electric station on 500ha in the Card Creek Reserve on the West Coast, but won't reject a 75 MW wind generating station on 700ha of reserve land in the Belmont Regional Park in Wellington.

"Wind power is no more environmentally-friendly than hydro electricity. This is just ridiculous political correctness that has the Government favouring wind power over hydro-electric power.

"Both are renewable energies and both these projects deserve to be considered on their merit.

"This duplicity over the Dobson and Belmont projects is another example of the anti-West Coast bias of this Government. Wellingtonians have been at the forefront of lecturing West Coasters about parks and reserves being sacrosanct, but now want to use their own parks and reserves for electricity generation.

"What's worse is that 85% of the West Coast is locked up in reserves, compared with just 16% in Wellington.

"New Zealand faces a serious challenge of meeting its energy needs as the Maui gas supply dwindles. National doesn't want to see PC clap-trap get in the way of new generation which is environmentally sound and cost effective and, for this reason, we support in principle both the Dobson and Belmont projects.

"I challenge Conservation Minister Chris Carter to reconsider the Dobson hydro-electric project," says Dr Smith.

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