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Threat to electricity the result of poor planning

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Energy Spokesman

20 January 2008

Threat to electricity supply result of poor planning

National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee says it is intolerable that one third of the power supply to the North Island is under threat because one of the supply cables across Cook Strait cannot be insured against failure.

"This is the result of poor planning by the Electricity Commission and the Labour Government - pure and simple.

"And that poor planning has been caused by total confusion as to who's in charge - the commission, Transpower, and the Commerce Commission all have a say in the pricing, asset allocation, and investment decision-making in the industry.

"The decision to replace this cable has been on the drawing board for a very long time and it should come as no surprise that we are now heading for a very precarious position.

"Energy Minister David Parker needs to explain how we've got into this situation.

"Simply saying other people have got it wrong is not acceptable when we know that the decision to shut one of the cables down has now been made.

"And for him to say the Government will consider underwriting the transmission system is utter nonsense and shows just how out of touch he is.

"The Government owns Transpower. If they were prepared to accept the loss that Transpower might incur in the light of there being no insurance, why didn't they direct them that way some time ago?

"At this rate, under Labour's energy strategy, David Parker's legacy will be electricity supply shortages and an insecure delivery system.

"The solution is and always has been in the Labour Government's hands."

ENDS

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