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Clean coal exporter perfect for Aichi expo

4 February 2005

Hon Jim Anderton MP, Progressive Leader

Clean coal exporter perfect for Aichi expo

"New Zealand's exporter of the year, Solid Energy, has faced up to one of the biggest challenges there is - making coal clean. That's why they have been chosen to host the New Zealand Pavillion at the Aichi Expo 2005 in Japan," Minister for Economic Development and Progressive Leader Jim Anderton said today in response to complaints from the Green Party on the choice.

The theme of the Aichi expo is 'Nature's Wisdom' and is focusing on 'new directions for solving global environmental challenges.

"Making coal clean has been an ongoing challenge for the industry, one which Solid Energy has risen to impressively. They have developed best practice mining methods, are meeting objectives to be environmentally sustainable and are significantly reducing their Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide emissions while developing clean burning technology for industry.

"Solid Energy has decided that coal contributes too much air pollution when used in home heating and so they are progressively withdrawing from that market. Such determination to become environmentally acceptable sets an example for all industries.

"Cleaner, greener technology has meant that you can burn coal with very low pollutant emissions and developments internationally will continue to improve on this. Coal is no longer the black demon of air pollution that it once was. It's time for outdated prejudices to be exposed for what they are and celebrate the gains made.

"Coal is important for our economy too. New Zealand is precariously reliant upon a mere 160 companies for 80 per cent of our export earnings. Solid Energy contributes over $200 million to New Zealand's export earnings, $180 million in exports to Japan alone. It is an important ambassador to the Aichi Expo both in terms of being a big New Zealand exporter and a company strong in proactive environmental development.

"All environmentally friendly advancements must be supported and acknowledged. Jeanette Fitzsimons' speech at the Opening of Parliament for the year suggested we shouldn't have hydro power or transmission lines over our beautiful country. I wondered what century they wanted to live in. The same people who promote solar and wind power seem to be the one who suffer from nimby disease when a wind farm is suggested in their neighbourhood.

"If we want to maintain a society with the technology, communications and living standards of the first world, then it's time to start supporting the positive technological developments that can help us do that. This includes support for our economic, social AND environmental well being," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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