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Hodgson lost over power price increases

Roger Sowry

National Energy Spokesperson

28th January 2004

Hodgson lost over power price increases

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson's ignorance of power price increases has been exposed, says National's Energy spokesperson Roger Sowry.

"Last week Pete Hodgson told the public his advice was that price increases of up to 15% were not "overshooting". Now it emerges that he didn't receive this advice until 23rd January, several days after his comments.

"It seems that Mr Hodgson had no real idea about the price hikes of up to 15%, and tried to cover his tracks by getting advice after the fact.

"This is just more evidence that the Minister of Energy has a weak grasp on his portfolio and is not providing the necessary leadership or forward planning.

"The advice also confirms that the Government is to blame for the high cost of new generation. The report from the Ministry of Economic Development says that "delays in construction of significant new generation" could drive up costs, and that "changes to implement Government policies to improve environmental outcomes and security of electricity supply will also affect costs."

"The cost of new generation should not be so high. It is clear that the RMA, the Kyoto agreement and the Conservation Act are still hindering new projects and creating red tape. Consumers are having to bear the cost of this," said Mr Sowry.

Ends

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