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Solid Energy for Green Ribbon award Mr Donald?

4 March 2005

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Will Donald nominate Solid Energy for Green Ribbon award?

Progressive MP Matt Robson today welcomed Greens' co-leader Rod Donald's press statement championing coal miner Solid Energy as a " a key strategic asset".

"One of the first things Jim Anderton and I did when we got into Cabinet after the 1999 election was to put a halt to Treasury-promoted nonsense to dismantle Solid Energy so that it could be sold in pieces.

"Today, Solid Energy is a highly profitable export-focused company and a major earner of foreign exchange earnings for New Zealand. And it is owned by all New Zealanders.

"Solid Energy contributed over $200 million export earnings last year which help ensure that our already large current deficit isn't even larger, and yet parties like NZ First and National would hock it off which would mean its dividend stream would add, not subtract, to our current account deficit," Matt Robson said.

Renewable resources, such as hydro, wind, geothermal and biomass, produce around 73% of the electricity that is generated in New Zealand for supply to consumers. Natural gas and coal supply the balance.

"With Greenies opposed to damning rivers to generate our country's growing need to produce more energy, and their opposition to the ugly sight of wind turbines, coal will play a bigger and bigger role in our economic development in the future unless we want to return to being a pre-feudal, cave-dwelling society," the Progressive MP said.

Today, Rod Donald issued a statement that failed to say if the Greens will reverse their previous strong opposition to Kiwibank but the statement did at least indicate a Green u-turn on Solid Energy. Rod Donald said that "Solid Energy is also a key strategic asset. Any sale would give away control over this important fuel and feed stock and make it more difficult for the Government to meet its Kyoto commitments.”

The Labour-Progressive government today called for nominations for the 2005 Green Ribbon environment awards, recognising New Zealanders making a real difference to the environment. Solid Energy's investment in research to develop clean generation technology, and its visionary decision to pull out of the home heating market because of their commitment to a clean environment, would make it a great nominee by Rod Donald, Matt Robson said.

ENDS

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