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Nats launch campaign with Grey Power Over Power

Nats launch campaign with Grey Power, industry and councils to get Dobson power scheme reconsidered

At a press conference by candlelight last night a campaign was launched by Mayors, MP's, industry and Grey Power from Nelson, Marlborough and the West Coast to have the Government reconsider its rejection of the Dobson hydro development in response to serious shortages and potential blackouts in the top of the South Island.

"If the Government had not rejected this proposal four years ago, today it would be producing power and we would not have the risks of blackouts," National MP Nick Smith said.

"We may be able to squeeze our way through this year's crisis but the fundamental issue is that the upper South Island needs more power. It makes far more sense to generate it locally than to build new lines only to have to generate the power elsewhere. The Dobson scheme is the best solution to the region's power needs and that is why the Government must reconsider."

The campaign has the support of the Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough, Kaikoura, Buller, Grey and Westland Councils representing 132,000 people; Grey Power branches of Nelson, Marlborough, Motueka, Golden Bay, Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika representing 15,000 members; and Commerce Nelson, Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and the Canterbury Employer's Chamber of Commerce representing 1,700 businesses. The campaign will include a petition circulated by all 17 organisations, an open letter to the Prime Minister and community meetings throughout the top of the south.

"We cannot tolerate having the elderly going cold or businesses shutting down because of the Government's politically correct ideology that no conservation land anywhere can ever be used. We need a common sense approach that balances environmental, social and economic factors into such decisions."

"We hope it is possible to sufficiently patch-up the system and manage demand to avoid significant disruption this winter. However, confidence in the region requires a long term answer and Dobson is the most realistic and viable," Dr Smith said.

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