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Admit It, Minister, You're Interfering

Admit It, Minister, You're Interfering

Thursday 22 Jan 2004 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Energy

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson's claims of not interfering in the New Zealand electricity market are completely farcical, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Energy Spokesman Ken Shirley said today.

"Like Pontius Pilate, Mr Hodgson sanctimoniously washes his hands when his Government's actions that are the main causes of distortion in the energy marketplace," Mr Shirley said.

"Three SOEs dominate the wholesale generation market, with Mr Hodgson a shareholding Minister. They have established regional supply monopolies, controlling generation, retail and using their dominance to thwart competition. The national distribution group is also operated as a State-owned monopoly - again, with Mr Hodgson as a shareholding Minister.

"Labour's foolish adherence to the fundamentally flawed Kyoto Protocol has curtailed much needed investment in coal-fired generation, and signalled carbon charges will ensure a continued escalation of our electricity prices.

"The Minister is on record for stating that electricity has been too cheap, and that investment in renewables - such as wind power - can only be achieved by driving up the price of cheaper alternatives.

"Labour's failure to amend the RMA has frustrated, delayed and prevented new investment in generation capacity - and its blocking of schemes like Trustpower's 55 megawatt generation on the Arnold River has sent the wrong message to potential investors.

"Mr Hodgson and his Government interfere in the electricity market every day - but, alas, they seem unaware of what they are doing. To ensure supply meets demand at optimum price, we need less Government and more market in electricity. Mr Hodgson admitting that he is interfering in a negative way would be a good place to start," Mr Shirley said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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