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Energy crisis casts shadow over confidence

Energy crisis casts shadow over confidence

National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee says it's now clear that business is most uncomfortable with the way the Government is handling the looming electricity crisis.

"And who can blame them, " Mr Brownlee says.

"On the same day that state-owned hydro generators Meridian Energy and Mighty River Power report bumper profits, we learn that business confidence has dipped sharply.

'While previous falls were blamed on the war, the most recent slide's being blamed on the drought and electricity prices" he says.

The National Bank survey shows that more than a third of firms now expect business conditions will deteriorate in the coming year, compared to just half that number in February.

"Like the Prime Minister, it's clear the business community has no faith in the way the crisis was being managed by Energy Minister Pete Hodgson.

"It remains to be seen whether the Government's half-hearted attempts to play-down the situation will change the business community's point of view," Mr Brownlee says.

"It's ironic that on the same day we hear about this slump, the state-owned hydro generators announce huge profits.

"This is clearly a reflection of the Government's profit demands and shows there's no financial pay-off for these companies to more effectively manage conservation efforts," Mr Brownlee says.

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