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Greens insist on biofuel sustainability standard

3 April 2008

Greens insist on biofuel sustainability standard

The Green Party agrees with the Parliamentary Commissioner's advice that biofuels should not proceed in New Zealand unless they are sustainable, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"The Minister and I agree that biofuels must achieve significant carbon dioxide reduction, are not made from food crops and do not destroy biodiversity such as rainforests.

"This is why the Green Party said last year that we would not support the Biofuel Bill unless it included a rigorous sustainability standard.

"At our insistence the Government put a sustainability clause in the Bill which is intended to be a place holder until more work could be done.

"Biofuels are currently made in small quantities in New Zealand from whey and used vegetable oil. Both these are small but sustainable sources.

"The largest opportunity in New Zealand is to make biodiesel from tallow. Tallow currently being exported will be used here once there is a plant to process it. Investors are ready to build but understandably will not invest unless the Biofuel Obligation is there.

"If, when second generation biofuel from wood or algae is ready to go, we have a functioning blending and distribution system we will be able to adopt it much faster.

"If we do this right, there will be little need for imported biofuels, about which the Commissioner is rightly concerned.

"However the Green Party disagrees with the Commissioner's view that a biofuel standard would be impossible to enforce for imports. We think it can be enforced as with any other border issue.

"EECA, of which I am the spokesperson, is well advanced on developing a similar methodology for New Zealand as is being developed in the UK and Switzerland.

"The Green Party strongly supports the Commissioner's emphasis on the need to curb the rising demand for transport fuels. Supply is only ever half the equation," Ms Fitzsimons says.


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