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More frequent use of emergency power

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Energy Spokesman

6 May 2008

More frequent use of emergency power

The power plant that the Energy Minister described as ‘a last cab off the rank’ in terms of emergency generation is now in regular use.

“The diesel-powered Whirinaki power plant was supposed to cover off peak demands during an absolute emergency. Its increased use is more evidence that Labour has failed to future-proof our energy sector,” says National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

Answers from the Energy Minister show the Whirinaki plant has used 7,614,563 litres of diesel in the period between 1 January 2008 and 31 March 2008.

It has run on 32 days in past three months - that’s about once every three days.

“This was the plant that Pete Hodgson said would be ‘a last cab off the rank. It will be a cab that we use, we hope, seldom’.”

Mr Brownlee says there have been three electricity crises since 2001, and now another one is looming in 2008.

“Labour will again attempt to put all the blame for this year’s looming crisis on the weather, but these so-called ‘1-in-60 dry-year events’ are proving to be much more common since the Electricity Commission was set up in 2003 to guarantee security of supply.”

The commission has cost Kiwi taxpayers $230 million since it was established.

“That commission has clearly failed in its mission, and no one in Labour is prepared to accept responsibility for the disaster.

“New Zealand simply won’t grow if industry is forced to wind down production every second winter because the country is running out of power.”


Attached: Parliamentary Questions – 1 page.

Parliamentary Questions 03277 & 03279

Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 10:48:29 AM
To: Gerry Brownlee
Subject: 03277 (2008) Published - Energy - Normal Reply Auto forwarded by a Rule

Question: How many days in the past three months has the diesel-powered plant at Whirinaki generated electricity?

Portfolio: Energy
Minister: Hon David Parker
Date Lodged:18/04/2008

Answer Text: 32 days

Attachment: None
Date Received:28/04/2008


Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 3:49:08 PM
To: Gerry Brownlee
Subject: 03279 (2008) Published - Energy - Normal Reply Auto forwarded by a Rule

Question: How many litres of diesel has the the diesel-powered plant at Whirinaki used in the past three months to generate electricity?

Portfolio: Energy
Minister: Hon David Parker
Date Lodged:18/04/2008

Answer Text: 7,614,563 litres in the period between 1 January 2008 and 31 March 2008.

Attachment: None
Date Received:28/04/2008

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