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Greens energy policy welcome

25 May 2005

Greens energy policy welcome

Forest and Bird today applauded the launch of the Green Party’s energy policy saying it was time for all political parties to deal with the consequences of New Zealand’s insatiable demand for energy.

“The Green Party’s focus on energy efficiency and reducing demand is welcome,” said Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager Kevin Hackwell.

“The only way to prevent new energy projects from polluting the air and damaging rivers is to reduce demand by preventing waste and encouraging greater use of new renewables such as solar heating,”he said.

“New Zealand’s energy use is growing faster than the economy and this is putting tremendous pressure on the natural environment. The failed Project Aqua, the proposed coal fired power station near Whangarei and the proposed hydro schemes on the Wairau and Gowan rivers in Marlborough are all signs of New Zealand’s wasteful approach to electricity,”

"The Ministry of Economic Development has identified 65 major hydroelectric projects that they think are likely to be developed over the next 20 years. Most of these projects are likely to have major environmental effects," he said.

"Last year Forest and Bird uncovered a list of 39 ‘Think Big’ style major projects throughout New Zealand that were the kind of projects Government officials considered possible candidates for the fast track call-in process. A number of these are major energy projects," he said.
"The problem with an obsession with favoured major projects is that it swamps out many smaller, often cheaper and more environmentally friendly projects. We are pleased that the Green Party are placing a greater emphasis these kinds of projects," he said.

“Forest and Bird will need to be convinced of the benefits of wave and tidal power being promoted by the Green Party. New Zealand’s estuaries and coastal environment are important for seabirds and marine mammals. Any development of wave or tidal power will have to ensure it does not harm them,” he said.

ENDS

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