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Energy crisis set to deepen

Gerry Brownlee MP National Energy Spokesman

16 March 2003

Energy crisis set to deepen

New Zealanders should be drawing no comfort from the Government's half-hearted attempts to prepare for an inevitable energy crisis.

"As the price of oil fluctuates on a daily basis due to the on again off again war in Iraq, Kiwi consumers have now been warned to expect increases in the price of LPG," says the National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

"As the Maui Field limps towards its end, the price of LPG will keep rising and there's unlikely to be relief from international markets, with sharp price hikes expected in all fossil fuels if a war breaks out.

"The Government is failing to act on the clear signs that New Zealand needs more investment in the energy sector if its to achieve acceptable levels of economic growth," says Mr Brownlee.

"It's failed to encourage more oil and gas exploration at a time when the importance of oil and gas in the world economy should be clearer than ever.

"The recent Maui gas outages prove the precarious state of New Zealand's energy supply. At one point the Huntly power station was forced to burn coal instead of gas.

"And electricity prices rose in February as a result," Mr Brownlee says.

"Where's the pay-off for the stated Government objective of last year 'to ensure that electricity is delivered in an efficient, fair, reliable and environmentally sustainable manner?'

"It's clear the Government focus on renewable energy will not pay dividends quick enough to stave off big electricity price hikes for businesses and the householder.

"The National Party's calling on Pete Hodgson to put our energy needs at the top of his agenda, before each and every one of us is forced to pay the price for his Government's lack of foresight," Mr Brownlee says.


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