Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Sustainability the key to biofuel industry: Greens

12 December 2008

Sustainability the key to biofuel industry: Greens

The Government has turned its back on a sustainable biofuel industry in New Zealand and instead opened our borders to imported fuels that could contribute to world hunger and destruction of rainforests, says the Green Party.

New Zealand has some waste materials and low value by-products of our agricultural industries which could be converted into fuel to supplement imported petroleum. In particular, tallow from our meatworks can be made into biodiesel and blended or used alone in diesel vehicles, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"The problem for investors already building plant and setting up contracts for feedstocks here, is that they could be undercut by subsidised ethanol from the USA where it is made from corn that could feed people, and by biodiesel made from palm oil, grown by clearing tropical rainforests that are the last refuge of the orangutan and many other species.

"National is about to repeal the Biofuel Act, under which unsustainable fuels that do not save much carbon, are made from food or grown on land that could grow food, or are grown by clearing important ecosystems, would be prevented from coming in," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Officials are in the process of drafting regulations to give effect to this clause in the Act, which was drafted by the Green Party. The regulations were expected to be in place late next year. Without those regulations, anything can be imported.

"Another problem for a developing local industry is fluctuating fuel prices. In August, when oil was over $150 a barrel, biofuel was slightly cheaper. Now, with oil less than $50 a barrel, it is more expensive. The oil companies will much prefer to import biofuel when petroleum prices are high and import petroleum when it costs less.

"That may sound like short term sense, but in the long term it is foolhardy.

"If we rely on stop-go imports we will be totally stranded the next time global shortages mean the oil tanker on its way here turns round and goes away, as it did in 1979. When oil becomes that scarce, biofuels wil be equally scarce.

"In that situation having even 5 percent of our usual diesel demand made here, would enable emergency services to keep running and food to be distributed to supermarkets."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Not Easy: Gordon Campbell On The Greens’ Ongoing Problems

Hard to treat the Greens’ belated decision to stand a candidate in Ohariu as being anything other than a desperation move, by a party whose own leadership is evidently concerned about its chances of survival...

A few months ago, the Greens felt able to forego that role in Ohariu in order to help a beleaguered Labour Party get its candidate Greg O’Connor across the line, and knock Peter Dunne out of the parliamentary frame. More>>


Closing The Gap: Ardern Rules Out Income Tax Rise

After earlier commitments by Jacinda Ardern to do something about inequality and poverty, this new position on income tax seems an about face. To do something significant about inequality requires increases in income for those at the bottom and decreases for those at the top... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On DHB Deficits And Free Trade

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need... More>>

Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“...The grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election