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National's energy policy tired and old

18 August 2005

National's energy policy a collection of tired old ideas

National's energy policy shows just how out of touch they have become after six years in opposition, Energy Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"National's approach to infrastructure investment is so incoherent and uncoordinated they believe they need an infrastructure minister to sort it out," Trevor Mallard said.

"Labour, on the other hand, is busy getting on with the job of sorting out the mess that National made last time they were in government. We already have a group of infrastructure ministers, coordinated by the Minister of Finance, who are dealing with these issues at a high level. Loading another portfolio responsibility on to a minister would achieve little.

"National's energy policy ignores the significant progress we have made towards encouraging more gas and oil exploration. They also ignore the fact that over 600 MW of new electricity generation has come on stream since Labour has been in government.

"We have already made changes to the royalty regime to encourage greater investment in gas and oil exploration. We have also changed tax policies to make them more favourable to exploration companies.

"The government is acquiring seismic and other technical data critical to attracting competitive bids for exploration permits and has improved IT systems to make data readily and freely available to explorers.

"National's proposal to shut people out of resource consent processes will cause alarm amongst all property owning New Zealanders. Under National's proposal, power pylons could be erected in your backyard without any consultation. National's suggestion that people should be prevented from making 'frivolous objections' to such processes is simply ridiculous.

"National also appear to have ignored the fact that almost half of our energy consumption in New Zealand is in the transport sector. National's policy is completely silent on this issue.

"By contrast, Labour is committed to a sustainable energy future, and we are committed to dealing with the real challenges that New Zealand will face over coming decades. We can't simply bury our heads in the sand and ignore the environmental impacts of what we are doing. We also can't ignore the fact that we currently rely heavily on non-renewable energy sources," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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