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Minister reveals woeful ignorance of power prices

6 November 2018

Minister reveals woeful ignorance of power prices

The Minister of Energy’s woeful ignorance of New Zealand electricity prices raises wider concerns about her stewardship of major energy reforms set to become law this week,

National’s Energy and Resources spokesman Jonathan Young says.

“Megan Woods claims to be well-briefed on energy markets but appears to have no knowledge of New Zealand electricity futures, despite them being a key risk management tool for the sector which signals where prices are heading.

“Wholesale electricity prices averaged $302 per megawatt last month, the highest since at least 2009. The Minister should be keeping a close watch, especially given reports some electricity retailers are at risk of defaulting on payments and Genesis Energy is being forced to import coal to prevent power cuts.

“But Ms Woods ducked the question in the House today citing the complexities of the electricity market and saying she wanted the question in writing. That’s an odd response given the futures trade on the ASX and are easily found.

“More troubling is that Ms Woods is the Minister sponsoring the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill, which is being rushed through against the advice of her officials and industry leaders and with scant regard for economic impact or actual effect on emissions.

She hasn’t been able to provide any analysis for the impacts of the Bill, which bans new offshore oil and gas exploration. While the Government promised wide consultation and robust analysis, it chose to block its ears to ram this through.

“The result is predictable – a reckless law change that will put Kiwis out of work, undermine our energy security, impose huge costs on Government and business and do nothing to reduce global carbon emissions.

“Transitioning to a low-carbon economy is too important a goal to be attempted without thorough due diligence and industry on board. New Zealand needs a long-term win, not a short-term soundbite for this Government.

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