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Opinion piece from Gordon Copeland

Opinion piece from Gordon Copeland

The last sentence in Greens co-leader, Jeannette Fitzsimons's anti-coal diatribe ("Let's say goodbye to black rivers and smokestacks" NZ Herald March 27) very neatly encapsulates the Green attitude towards New Zealand's energy needs.

The sentence reads "Coal is just SO last century." It comes at the end of a piece of confused reason, Byronic nightmares of industrial England, bad science and unproven assumptions - distinguishing features of all Green policy, it must be said.

What the sentence tells us is that the Greens believe serious policy must be judged on whether it is fashionable, not sensible, and it tells us that the Greens are constantly looking backward.

Let's be clear: the Greens hate progress. They are determined to force us all to live in some mediaeval fantasy world where we make money not by international trade, but by taking in each other's washing; where we save energy by washing those clothes in the nearby river and deliver the results of our labours on foot or by bicycle while happily breathing in the ever-present fumes of cannabis.

Serious people know that New Zealand needs security of energy supply for both domestic and commercial use. They know we have high quality coal reserves which can be used to run our power stations and they are aware that technology have moved on from Ms Fitzsimons's dramatic tales of dirty smokestacks, acid rain, polluted rivers and so on.

She conjures up a comforting view of solar, wind and regional hydro dam sources of energy meeting all New Zealand's foreseeable energy needs. Yet she and her party spend a lot of time putting huge legal hurdles in the way of anyone who actually wants to develop such sources. Their blinkered view of reality makes it impossible for them to conceive of such desirable outcomes like making a tourist attraction out of the lake that lies behind every hydro dam.

New Zealand needs a comprehensive energy policy. But it must be based on reason, good science and a rational comprehension of the options available, not the befuddled, archaic fantasies of Ms Fitzsimons and her Green colleagues.

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