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Who will take responsibility when lights go out?

Don Brash National Party Leader

08 March 2006

Who will take responsibility when the lights go out?

National Party Leader Don Brash is laying blame for the threat of a looming electricity shortage this winter at the feet of the Labour Government.

"Labour's bureaucratic bungling and dithering has left the country with a faltering energy infrastructure. We're simply not bringing enough new generation on line to satisfy the demands of a growing economy."

Dr Brash is commenting in the wake of warnings to householders to conserve electricity or face blackouts this winter.

The Major Electricity Users Group, Meridian and Genesis have all warned of the potential for blackouts.

"Labour just can't keep blaming the weather. This isn't about a lack of rain; it's about a lack of foresight," says Dr Brash. "Labour's new energy bureaucracy - the Electricity Commission - has failed miserably in its core task of providing security of supply. There are no clear lines of accountability between the Electricity Commission, the Commerce Commission, national grid operator Transpower and the power generating SOEs.

"All Labour has accomplished is an increase in bureaucratic bumbling. "The shambles Labour has created with its changeable climate change policy isn't helping provide any security for potential generators, either."

Dr Brash says National would confront the issue from a number of fronts. "We would reform the RMA to provide a sensible balance between the protection of the environment and the desperate need for more generation capacity. "And we would appoint a Minister of Infrastructure to provide the co-ordination and leadership so desperately needed in the sector," says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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