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Another Backwards Labour Leap

Hon Max Bradford
Minister for Enterprise and Commerce

MEDIA RELEASE
OCTOBER 8, 1999

Another Backwards Labour Leap

Labour would deny hundreds of thousands of consumers the already substantial benefits of the power reforms, with its central control electricity policy, Enterprise and Commerce Minister Max Bradford said today.

He said whoever had written Labour’s anti-competition power policy had decided to ignore the extensive evidence that the reforms were delivering lower prices for New Zealanders.

“Re-amalgamating ECNZ at great expense, dictating what companies can and cannot do and promising yet another lengthy inquiry is just another backwards Labour leap.

“After refusing to prevent monopoly electricity lines companies abusing their monopoly position, Labour is prepared to derail successful changes for the sake of outdated ideology, just as it would do in ACC and industrial relations.

“Proof of the success of the power reforms is overwhelming,” Mr Bradford said.

- Wholesale electricity prices are around half what they were prior to the reforms.

- 62 per cent of households can now pay less for their electricity than in April 1998 when the reforms were announced, if they choose to do so.

- 60 per cent of households now have a choice of electricity supplier.

- Thousands of other households have gained access to alternative suppliers offering lower prices through one or more of several buying groups offering electricity deals to members.

- There are at least ten electricity retailers competing vigorously in the market.

- Since April 1, between 30,000 and 50,000 consumers have switched power companies to get lower prices.

“It is irrefutable that the reforms are working for New Zealanders. Competition and consumer choice will increase even more over time.

“Labour wants to take us back to the policies of the past. At least they’re being consistent – virtually all their policies are a return to the past,” Mr Bradford said.

ENDS

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