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Industry amps up the pressure on power crisis

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Energy Spokesman

4 June 2008

Industry amps up the pressure on power crisis

National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee says David Parker should bite the bullet and call an early launch to the electricity conservation campaign he's expected to unveil next week.

"In a complete contradiction of the Minister, major industrial users are predicting high spot prices caused by the crisis will flow through to all consumers, and that New Zealand's in a 'riskier situation than in any prior crisis'.

"The Minister has been crossing his fingers and toes and hoping for the best. By doing so, he is opening the door to a bigger crisis and more significant power shortages. He needs to get out in front of the public and offer some assurances about the plan he should have been working on for weeks.

"The reality right now is that a single breakdown will put the grid under real pressure. Security of supply was the prime reason that Labour set up the $230 million Electricity Commission. If that was the Commission's mission, it has failed."

Mr Brownlee says because the Minister is still in election-year denial, there will be many consumers who will misread the situation.

"That's why it's important for the Minister to get out there and tell it the way it is. David Parker should be advocating sensible ways in which households can help ease the threat of more widespread black-outs down the track.

"While I understand perfectly why the Minister does not want to be seen to over react, doing nothing is no longer an option.

"It's so bad that New Zealand's energy supply currently relies on a broken Cook Strait cable, a power station that was mothballed because of asbestos, and the diesel guzzling emergency power plant at Whirinaki.

"It's time Mr Parker took his head out of the sand."

ENDS

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