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Should NZ taxpayers fund Aussie investment?

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Energy Spokesman

04 June 2003

Should NZ taxpayers fund Aussie investment?

The National Party's appalled by fresh suggestions that state-owned Meridian Energy is looking at a multi-million dollar expansion into Australian wind farms.

"How can the Government justify the emergency $200 million tax for future power generation, when its own company is spending more than $1.2 billion across the Tasman?" asks National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

"The New Zealand taxpayer will not accept this 'empire building' the Government should not accept it either.

"If the Government lets this go ahead Meridian will have more than $1.2 billion invested in Australia.

"Meridian says it plans to be a 'serious player' in the Australian market, but surely New Zealand needs the Government-owned generator to focus on issues much closer to home.

"It's not as if the Government didn't know what was going on," says Mr Brownlee.

"In March this year the company announced it was spending $640 million on hydro power stations in Victoria, and as far back as 2001 Meridian was investing in Australia.

"We questioned that spending this year, but it's a familiar story in the electricity sector, the Government failed to take any action," Mr Brownlee says.


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