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Good management key to weathering dry winter

15 July 2008 Media Statement

Good management key to weathering dry winter

The electricity industry’s success in weathering the dry winter has been due to good management, not a lucky ‘gamble’, Energy Minister David Parker said today.

“Bryan Leyland’s comment in the Dominion Post today that the government “gambled and won” is sour grapes from a so-called ‘independent’ energy commentator who has delighted in warning media of a “serious shortage” (Press, 22 May), “rolling power blackouts” (Sunday Star Times, 8 June), and “huge blackouts across the country” (New Zealand Herald, 9 June).

In the same way news reporters recognised the political motives behind the scaremongering of National’s Gerry Brownlee, they should note Bryan Leyland’s own underlying agenda, Mr Parker said.

“Mr Leyland does not think climate change is really happening, and is an active member of the climate sceptic group Climate Science Coalition, which opposes action on climate change.

“Mr Leyland’s goal in rarking up fears around energy security is to undermine the case for renewable energy and to try and promote the expansion of coal and gas generation, which produces greenhouse gases.”

Mr Parker said it was ridiculous to describe rainfall as “lucky”.

“We don’t criticise farmers for planting crops in the expectation of rain and sunshine. Likewise, we do expect rain to fall and fill our hydro lakes on a yearly basis.

“This has been an unusually dry year. By early June, the inflows into the hydro lakes were the lowest since 1947. The industry had to turn to contingencies to get through. Thanks to better information made available since the Electricity Commission was set up, and good industry coordination, the tight energy situation has been well managed. The outcome should be seen as proof that the system is robust, rather than the reverse.

“The public of New Zealand also deserve thanks for the efforts they have made to conserve power where possible, and I am sure this message will be echoed by the electricity generators, as the power saving campaign concludes in the coming weeks.”


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