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Copeland: Govt palming off oil reserve costs

Wednesday, 15 December 2004

Copeland: Govt palming off oil reserve costs

United Future energy spokesman Gordon Copeland is disappointed to hear of yet another Government impost on the long-suffering motorist.

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson's decision to make either the oil companies or the public pay for a Government decision to increase New Zealand's oil reserves from a 60-day to a 90-day buffer is outrageous, Mr Copeland said.

"There has not to my knowledge been any time in the past few decades where New Zealand has seriously come close to running out of oil due to supply chain interruptions - so why oil companies or, in the end, motorists should foot the minimum $640 million dollar bill for increasing our reserves is beyond me," he said.

"I understand that the Government wants to comply with the International Energy Agency standard, but the chances of interruption of supply are so remote, and the costs of adding these extra safeguards are so high, that this is clearly a defence of the realm issue and as such should be funded from the Government's coffers.

"If the Government doesn't think the risks to New Zealand's oil supplies are high enough to warrant Government expenditure, why should it expect anyone else to?

"It's like the export levy all over again - the Government is treating business like an ATM to fund security policies that are clearly its own responsibility.


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