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NZ First promises to control power prices

NZ First promise to control power prices to level of inflation scores big with Grey Power

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has raised the possibility of pegging energy prices on a number of occasions, but late last week in Kapiti, Mr. Peters gave firm, broad outlines to his energy policy.

Holders of the Golden Age Card issued during the campaign, and available to every superannuitant will find their electricity cost increases will be held to the level of inflation. Where that is not possible, there will be Government subsidies for the elderly, New Zealand First officials acknowledged today.

Petrol is also included in the policy. Yet to be detailed, it is expected that superannuitants will be able to buy their petrol at the pump GST free. Officials said Mr Peters and his advisors were still working on the specifics of the new policy.

“At last we have a political party that has recognised the inequity in ever-escalating uncontrolled electricity prices,” says national president of Grey Power Graham Stairmand.

“This is the only party that has made such a commitment. The two major parties stoically refuse to recognize how power prices affect those on fixed incomes. Other parties have talked about investigating profit levels, as if that will have any effect.

“Having to accept power price rises without any justification or even clarification is price gouging of the worst kind,” Mr Stairmand says. “What is needed is a regulating body with public input that has the power to accept or reject price increases. The whole power industry needs to be controlled.

“The existing Electricity Commission is a creature of government – only there to implement government policy which is to reap dividends and GST from ever-increasing prices, irrespective of the harm it does to the community.

“Grey Power strongly commends this policy plank to its members,” says Graham Stairmand.

Energy cost has long been the top issue of concern for Grey Power, recognised as a leading support organization for many of the three-quarters of a million retired New Zealanders. Grey Power has 90,000 active members.

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