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Biofuels will be sustainable and cheap

23rd June 2008

Biofuels will be sustainable and cheap

The sustainability clause in the new Biofuel Bill, reported back from select committee today, is the strictest in the world, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"Before the Bill first came to Parliament, the Green Party told the Government that we would only support it if there was an absolute requirement for biofuels to come from sustainable sources," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Since then we have worked with the Minister and the select committee to draft a really tough clause that ensures biofuels have to produce at least 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions over their life cycle than petroleum fuels; must not compete with food production or be grown on land of high value for food production; and must not reduce biodiversity or be grown on land of high conservation value.

"This means the fuels made from food grains or palm oil grown where tropical forest has been cleared, simply can't come into New Zealand.

"If we don't pass this law this year, all the investors waiting to build plants converting tallow into biodiesel will not invest. The National Party is blocking investment in a sustainable New Zealand industry that will help us get through the peak oil crisis.

"For the first year, the new standard will not be in place as it will take time to develop, but the mandatory reporting provisions can be brought forward so that from October oil companies are required to say where the biofuel component of their blend has come from giving people the ability to buy environmentally.

"Claims that biofuels will raise the price of transport fuel are self serving and wrong. This is the same situation we had in the eighties when we fought to get lead out of petrol. The industry then said it would cost more to have lead free petrol. In the end the difference was so small we hardly noticed it.

"I have a table put together by the industry showing that even if biodiesel was imported, a five percent blend would cost only 1.64 cents per litre more. However the local product is likely to be cheaper than that, and the ethonal blend Gull is selling, made from whey, is already cheaper than the 98 petrol it replaces.

"It is tragic that the National Party is playing politics rather than supporting a small but worthwhile sustainability initiative."


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