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Alternative fuels solution to petrol price hikes

PRESS RELEASE

5 September 2005

For immediate release

Alternative fuels offer pastoral solution to petrol price hikes says Rural Women New Zealand

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is calling on the Government to make faster progress in introducing alternative fuels, such as bio-diesel and bio-ethanol, in the face of rapidly rising petrol prices, which are having a huge impact in rural areas.

New Zealand is lagging behind countries such as Brazil, where bio-ethanol fuel is available even in the remotest areas.

“In a pastoral country like this, why are we not using plants as an alternative source of fuel?” asks Rural Women New Zealand president, Sherrill Dackers.

Provincial New Zealand has been particularly hard hit by the recent fuel hikes, she says, and the Government needs to speed up the introduction of alternative types of fuel.

Investigations by RWNZ show agricultural contractors and trucking firms have raised their prices by as much as 10 percent in recent days, and there has been a hike in the price of groceries and other services in rural towns.

RWNZ member, Pam Callaghan, who runs a South Island stock trucking firm, says keeping up with the changing fuel prices is a problem.

“Obviously it is going to have to be passed on. But we can’t just set our rate every week. It is making it quite difficult.”

Mrs Callaghan says rural people will think twice before making trips to town and it will have a social impact.

“Fuel costs will affect everything you do.”

However many rural people cannot avoid the effects of the fuel price increases or pass on their costs.

The lack of public transport in rural areas means people often have no alternative but to use private vehicles, and farmers who use heavy plant and machinery in their work must absorb the increased costs.

“Farmers are at the bottom of the food chain and can’t pass on the petrol price rises. They won’t get higher prices for their stock or crops. It’s time to make serious progress on alternative fuels,” says Sherrill Dackers.


ENDS

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