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Business New Zealand admits NZ Power benefits

28 February 2014

Business New Zealand admits NZ Power benefits, now needs to embrace them

Business New Zealand has finally admitted that the Green Party’s plan for cheaper power for families and businesses will be good for the economy, but they need to stop downplaying NZ Power’s benefits, Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.

Business New Zealand today released a report from Infometrics that finds NZ Power will produce economic benefits for New Zealand. The report attempts to down-play the size of those benefits with flawed analysis but, even so, it is forced to admit that the New Zealand economy would receive a net gain over $220 million a year. The Green Party believes the report significantly under-estimates the gains NZ Power will bring.

“Current high and rising power prices act as a stealth tax on the economy holding back Kiwi businesses, something Business New Zealand should join us in fighting,” said Mr Hughes.

“The Greens’ plan for cheaper, cleaner electricity will put more money in families’ wallets, cut business costs, and create economic development opportunities, leading to 5,000 new jobs.

“The report makes the strange claim that putting more money in families wallets and reducing costs to businesses won’t mean more jobs. In fact, as Business New Zealand would normally argue, when you cut costs for households and businesses, they spend more in the economy and create jobs.

“This basic error in Business New Zealand’s report leads to it over-estimating the fiscal costs of NZ Power and missing the 5,000 new jobs that NZ Power will create.

“Business New Zealand also gets it wrong when it says NZ Power will increase electricity demand and that will mean greater greenhouse emissions. In reality, electricity demand is falling due to improved energy efficiency and NZ Power will have an inherent interest in promoting low-cost energy efficiency measures.

“There are nearly 3500MW of consented renewable power plants that are waiting to be built if needed. Business New Zealand’s report also seems completely ignorant of the booming home solar industry, which the Greens will support with our Solar Homes policy, negating the need for some new large power plants.

“The Greens welcome Business New Zealand’s new-found concern about greenhouse emissions and hope that they will now join us in helping to create an effective price on climate pollution.

“Rather than attack NZ power with weak, inaccurate, and politically-motivated arguments to defend the big power companies, Business NZ should advocate for the bulk of their business membership, who will do better out of cheaper electricity.

“The Greens would welcome Business NZ and electricity companies input into how we can structure an electricity market that works for New Zealand, rather than defending the status quo that sees the big power companies making excessive profits and power prices rising even as demand drops,” said Mr Hughes.

ENDS

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