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Green party cools its shock coal ban stance

24 April 2008
Media release

Green party cools its shock coal ban stance, but stays hot on

The Green Party has cooled down on its shock announcement about
closing down the coal industry, the carbon market daily news service,
Carbon News, reports this morning.

And the National Party, which is likely to need the Greens if it is
to form a Government later this year, yesterday ducked for cover when
asked for its view on the coal shutdown policy.

The Greens have told Carbon News that closing down the coal industry
will not be a bottom-line issue in post-election coalition talks -
but genuine measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions will be.

The party’s co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons, on Tuesday delivered a
shock message to the industry, saying that exports of thermal coal
would be halted and the Huntly coal-fired power station phased out as
part of the party’s six-point plan to cut climate-damaging emissions
from the burning of coal.
With polls showing the Greens are likely to hold the balance of power
after the next election, the policy is problematic for both National
and Labour, Carbon News reports.

National – which is looking increasingly likely to need the support
of the Greens to govern – would find such a policy difficult to live
with, and was yesterday refusing to comment on the issue.

“We won't be conducting post-election negotiations through the
media,” a spokesman said.

Labour would find such an out-right banning of coal even more
uncomfortable because of its historic links with the coal-miners.
About 1200 people are directly employed in the coal industry, and
halting coal exports would have an enormous impact on traditional
Labour strongholds like Westport and Greymouth, which are built
around the mines.

It could even lead the Labour Party’s biggest affiliate union, the
EPMU, which represents miners, to formally consider disaffiliating
from the party.
Fitzsimons was last night pouring oil on the waters, saying that what
really mattered was that New Zealand made real reductions in
greenhouse-gas emissions.

“What we are absolutely serious about is a substantial reduction in
greenhouse-gas emissions,” she told Carbon News.

While phasing out the Huntly power station seemed an obvious move,
she was prepared to look at other methods.

Power companies to engage in second advertising war battle

Two of the country’s biggest power companies, at war for the wallets
of the rapidly growing green consumer market, are about to engage in
another battle just hours after one was delivered a victory by the
Advertising Standards authority.

Carbon News reports that Genesis Energy last night revealed it was
again taking rival TrustPower to the authority over its claims that
it is “greener” than Genesis – just hours after it had won another
battle with the company.

Yesterday, the authority released a ruling criticising TrustPower for
trying to mislead Genesis customers into thinking that they would be
supplied with renewable energy if they switched to TrustPower.

Genesis complained that TrustPower couldn’t possibly guarantee that
the energy it supplied to consumers was produced from renewable
sources because most of the electricity generated in New Zealand is
mixed together in the national grid – irrespective of the way in
which it was produced.
The authority agreed.

Genesis Energy’s public affairs manager, Richard Gordon, told Carbon
News that the company had lodged a new complaint about TrustPower’s
behaviour, but he could not say what it was about.


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