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Failed energy strategy highlights policy mess

Hon Nick Smith
National Party Energy Spokesman

30 March 2006

Failed energy strategy highlights policy mess

National’s Energy spokesman Nick Smith says the Government should come clean and admit that its energy efficiency and conservation policies have failed miserably.

“Labour’s strategy was launched with much fanfare in 2001 but five years later it has turned into a farce.

“Far from achieving the goal of a 20% improvement in energy efficiency over 10 years, only 2% improvement has been achieved after five years. This is despite the strategy, in 2001, saying that 0.5-1% per annum of improvement could be expected on business as usual.

“Only 4 PJ of renewable energy has been achieved after four years despite the strategy promising 30 PJ. The strategy acknowledged that 1.5 PJ of renewables was expected without any strategy.

“That the only two goals failed so badly shows that despite all the fanfare, the strategy has not made a blind bit of difference to New Zealand’s energy efficiency.

“It is farcical for the Government to have a strategy to increase renewable energy and then reject key renewable options like the Dobson hydro dam and Project Aqua, but approve massive new coal and gas generation.

“This failure cannot be hidden with political spin from Labour like ‘the world has changed in five years’ and ‘the original strategy provided a solid base to build on’, and it is foolish to now promise a ‘more aggressive strategy’.

“This failed strategy is contributing to New Zealand’s energy crisis.

“The Government has banked on substantial energy efficiency that has not eventuated, and now we are at risk of the lights going out because we have not invested in the much-needed energy infrastructure.

“The Government must stop writing meaningless strategies with goals that no one believes. We need a robust energy policy that provides the right regulatory environment and pricing signals to provide secure and efficient energy supplies for New Zealand,” says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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