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Govt report confirms barrier to geothermal power

Hon Nick Smith
National Party Energy Spokesman

Govt report confirms RMA barrier to geothermal power

One of the Government’s own departments has identified the RMA as a substantial barrier to the development of geothermal power, says National’s Energy spokesman, Nick Smith.

He is commenting on a report just released by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology that identifies 3600MW of potential energy.

“This research report is acutely embarrassing for the Government because it contradicts its policy of refusing to reform the Resource Management Act and the repeated statements by the Minister that the Act is not a problem,” says Dr Smith.

“It is economic madness that we are unable to tap into thousands of megawatts of renewable energy when we have huge uncertainty over energy supplies.

“It is also environmentally unsound for Labour to have trebled electricity production from coal, blowing out greenhouse gas emission targets, when options like geothermal power are being blocked.

“The tragedy identified in this report is that New Zealand’s world-leading geothermal technology has been used in power developments in Indonesia, the Philippines, Chile and Pacific Island nations, but not in New Zealand.

“The Government cannot go on pretending the RMA is not a problem. The 2006 IMD World Competitiveness Study ranked New Zealand as number 61 of 61 for the effectiveness of environmental laws. The August 2006 Mood of the Boardroom Report identified the RMA as the no. 1 impediment to improved productivity. Now, even the Government’s own advisers are saying the RMA is a problem.

“Geothermal energy is an important part of meeting New Zealand’s future energy needs. It’s a domestic resource, renewable and ideally located in the upper North Island where power is most needed. National will reform the Resource Management Act to remove the barriers to geothermal development,” says Dr Smith.


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