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Sacking confirms Govt’s failure on electricity

Hon Nick Smith
National Party Energy Spokesman

13 September 2006

Sacking confirms Govt’s failure on electricity

The acrimonious sacking of Electricity Commissioner Roy Hemmingway confirms the failure of the Government’s electricity policies and its bullying style towards independent statutory officers, says National’s Energy spokesman, Nick Smith.

“Labour set up the Electricity Commission, appointed Mr Hemmingway, and said it would resolve New Zealand’s electricity problems. The problems have got worse and now they are using Mr Hemmingway as a scapegoat.

“The statements by Mr Hemmingway that he is being sacked for standing up to the Government, that promises about independence were not honoured, and that the Government’s politicisation of electricity decisions will hurt consumers and investors are deeply concerning.

“This Government is developing an ugly track record of bullying independent statutory officers. We see it with the Auditor-General, Kevin Brady, the Chief Electoral Officer, David Henry, and now with Mr Hemmingway.

“His claim of the politicisation of the Electricity Commission is confirmed by the appointment of Mr Peter Harris as his interim replacement. Mr Harris is the former economic advisor to Dr Cullen, and his appointment signals the end of any independence of the commission.

“That independence is particularly important when it is attempting to regulate the Government’s own state-owned enterprises.

“Mr Hemmingway is right to condemn this politicisation and say it ‘will result in an even more confusing muddle of policies than now’.

“It is the Government’s failed policies, and not the people, that will need to change if New Zealanders are to get an electricity system that works”, says Dr Smith.


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