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Government Inaction Fuels Power Crisis

Bill English
National Party Leader

14 April 2003

Government inaction fuels power crisis

National says the country is staring down the barrel of another power crisis because the Government has failed to realise the scope of the problem.

"The issue here is not the market but a lack of generation, and this Government has done nothing to progress electricity generation or gas exploration," says National Leader Bill English.

"The amount of new generation that's come on stream since 1999 has not kept pace with a growing economy - and the subsequent increase in demand for electricity.

"Instead, the Government has failed to speed up the resource consents process and reform the Resource Management Act. Right now, two hydro projects can't progress because they can't get consent.

"Companies like Sealord and Carter Holt Harvey cutting production, and reports of others affected like Coupland's Bakeries, is damaging to the economy and signals that there is clearly not enough electricity.

"These businesses suffering high prices have told us they're deeply suspicious the Government generators are holding back capacity to generate higher prices. They're disgusted that one SOE recently spent $600 million on new generation in Australia.

"It is this Government's job to make sure there's no impediment to new generating capacity instead of stopping coal, because of Kyoto, and preventing the development of new hydro schemes.

"The Government has to get its house in order as a major (80%) player in the industry. If it keeps saying no to new generation, we can only expect prices to keep going up," says Mr English.

Ends


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