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Copeland: Aqua Decision Body Blow To Economy

Media Statement
For immediate release
Monday, 29 March, 2004

Copeland: Aqua decision body blow to economy

Meridian Energy's decision to can the Project Aqua hydro development is a huge wake-up call for the Government and the economy, United Future energy spokesman Gordon Copeland said today.

"This decision has massive impact - not the least of which is the very clear need for an urgent overhaul of the Resource Management Act," Mr Copeland said.

"When projects of this significance start falling over, it's well past time to ask some very tough questions," he said.

Mr Copeland this afternoon wrote to the Speaker, seeking an urgent debate in Parliament tomorrow.

There are a number of issues that come out of this immediately, and first among them is that the Dobson hydro scheme, in Greymouth, now becomes even more crucial, Mr Copeland said.

"The Government must stop pussy-footing around and give this scheme the go-ahead now.

"The evidence is already out there that, without Aqua, there may be an electricity supply-and-demand gap in just three years, rising to a massive 11,000 gigawatts by 2017.

"This is of concern for business and residential consumers alike," he said.

Mr Copeland said the situation was so urgent that New Zealand would now have to look at meeting its short to medium term energy needs with more expensive, less sustainable and less environmentally friendly alternative power sources such as coal.

Ends.


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