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State control won't solve power problems

Tony Ryall National Commerce Spokesperson

15 April 2003

State control won't solve power problems

National is attacking Government plans for control of the electricity industry.

"After years spent trying to get an industry-run Electricity Governance Board up and running, the Government's now going to take control of the industry," says National's Commerce spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"This will be a disaster for New Zealand businesses, taxpayers and consumers.

"What the Government should be doing is fixing the RMA so more hydro schemes can be built and encouraging more private sector investment and competition.

"Now with Energy Minister Pete Hodgson sidelined on the issue, it's Helen Clark and Michael Cullen - who know even less about the electricity industry - who'll be in charge.

"The Government's response, so far, to the looming power crisis has been useless. All New Zealanders have seen is the occasional press release saying the 5% savings target has yet to be reached.

"Where's a comprehensive campaign on saving power? The Government had plenty to learn from the 2001 crisis, but it failed to put any safeguards in place and is now carrying the results.

"Clearly, putting commercial and regulatory decisions about the electricity industry in the hands of Helen Clark and Michael Cullen is nothing short of irresponsible and will undermine investor confidence.

"The Prime Minister may be good at trying to do what the polls tell her is popular, but it's not the formula needed to ensure new generation in the electricity sector," says Mr Ryall.

Ends

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