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Govt should listen to OPEC, say Greens

Govt should listen to OPEC, say Greens

Energy Minister Trevor Mallard confirmed in the House today that he hadn’t heard the latest OPEC news when he claimed last week that Peak Oil is still thirty years away.

OPEC producers said on 16 March that they are already pumping as fast as they can, with the Qatari Oil Minister saying, “OPEC has done all it can do.” The US Department of Energy, on whose forecasts the Government generally relies, said Saudi Arabia, the only OPEC country believed to have excess capacity, is already pumping at 90 per cent of the maximum possible rate. A trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange subsequently took out a futures option to buy oil at US$100 a barrel in June.

“I call on Trevor Mallard to revisit and revise his overly optimistic prediction, made on Campbell Live last week, in light of this recent news,” said Jeanette Fitzsimons, the Greens’ Co-Leader and Energy and Transport Spokesperson.

“It is crucial for social harmony and sound and sustainable economic development that New Zealand takes the necessary steps now reduce to reduce our dependence on oil. The Government is gradually starting to acknowledge that something needs to be done, but it seems bereft of its own ideas on what to do.

“When asked in the House today what is being done to address energy security, Mr Mallard listed the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, the Land Transport Strategy and increased funding for public transport, walking and cycling, all of which were initiated by the Green Party.

“While it is gratifying that some of our policies have been adopted, much more needs to be done now. For instance, the Government continues to allow the importing of cars that burn 12 to 15 litres to travel 100km, even though there are a number of vehicles available that use only five to six litres.

“Mr Mallard is simply wrong when he says ‘we have not yet reached the point where we can dictate what kinds of cars people can import’. We have minimum energy efficiency standards and labelling for new lights and fridges, why not for cars, why are they exempt?

“Despite the high Kiwi dollar insulating New Zealand from the full effect of rising oil prices, the cost of the nation’s oil imports rose 29.9 per cent in the year to February and were a major contributor to the February trade deficit,” said Ms Fitzsimons.

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