Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Government fiddling while elderly freeze

Government fiddling while elderly freeze

Auckland (April 29) – The Auckland Energy Consumer Trust says the government needs to urgently review current laws that prevent electricity network owners like the AECT from investing in the electricity generation industry.

AECT chair Karen Sherry said the government is fiddling around with short-term measures to resolve an electricity crisis that requires a long-term investment approach. Her call for a legislative rethink comes as the Government’s Winter Power Task Force has doubled its target for power usage reductions. The AECT is New Zealand’s largest consumer trust, with $2.8 billion of electricity transmission assets around the country, but it is prevented by law from investing in generation assets.

“The government owns 68 percent, or nearly three quarters, of New Zealand’s generation assets and is obviously benefiting from high market prices. Its solution to a supply crisis that it has created is to tell the elderly to turn their heaters off, a response that is becoming all too familiar during a dry winter,” Ms Sherry said

“If the state-owned electricity generators are not prepared to invest in new plant, then we say the government should change the current law and allow community energy trusts to consider doing so,” she said.

Ms Sherry said it is ironic the government is prepared to spend millions of dollars on an advertising and public relations campaign to get people to switch off their heaters, but it is not prepared to let organisations like the AECT consider investing in the necessary new generation facilities.

The government is apparently concerned that because electricity networks, or lines companies, are monopolies, their ownership of generation assets as well would lead to price manipulation. “Under the current arrangement the government-owned generators are pocketing most of the profits in the generation sector – which in the six months to the end of December earned them over $203 million. Compare that with electricity lines company VECTOR, which is wholly owned by AECT, and actually dropped its prices by $120 million last year,” she said.

Ms Sherry said consumers should not have to double their efforts to save power to support an industry that does not encourage new capital investment for either generation or transmission.

“It is ironic that the government , which owns most of the generator/retailing companies is prepared to regulate to protect itself and exclude from the generating industry organisations that can help avert a future crisis.”

“What we need is investment in the industry, and the government should be encouraging organisations like the AECT to put money where the need is,” she said.

Instead, the government’s inaction threatens to cause power shortages and potentially reduce the income of consumer trusts like the AECT.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election