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Labour set to lift power prices by 35-40%

Brian Connell
National Party Commerce Spokesman
10 February 2005

Labour set to lift power prices by 35-40%

The Labour Government must tell New Zealanders if it intends to allow electricity prices to rise by 35 to 40%, as has been projected, says National's Commerce spokesman, Brian Connell.

He is commenting on a warning by Solid Energy CEO Don Elder, who told a parliamentary select committee today that the Government's intention to introduce a carbon tax, following its ratifying of the Kyoto Protocol, will push up the cost of coal for electricity generation by 18 to 20%.

"This is over and above the projected 15 to 20% increase in wholesale electricity prices, and means electricity could rise by 35 to 40%," Mr Connell says.

"Labour must be held to account for these huge increases.

"A 15 to 20% increase would have stretched the finances for many Kiwis, but a 35 to 40% increase will probably result in deaths, particularly of elderly people because many won't be able to afford to switch their heaters on.

"The Government has to stop playing ducks and drakes and ask Energy Minister Trevor Mallard to front up and tell New Zealanders what the Government intends to do," Mr Connell says.

Ends

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