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Contact Energy to cost taxpayers $34 million?

Contact Energy to cost taxpayers $34 million per year?

Green Media Release 19th October 2006

Contact Energy’s AGM today is an opportunity for the company to explain to New Zealand taxpayers why they should foot the $34 million per year carbon emissions’ bill of its proposed Otahuhu C gas-fired power station, says the Green Party.

“Contact’s gas-fired plant will emit 1.14 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, which will cost the taxpayer $34 million per year to pay for the carbon credits to cover these emissions, based on a price of $30 per tonne,” says Russel Norman, Green Co-Leader.

“Our Kyoto commitments mean that it is the taxpayer that will pick up the bill for carbon dioxide emissions, particularly in light of the failure of the Labour-United-NZ First Government to put a price on carbon emissions,” says Dr. Norman, also the Greens Economics Spokesperson.

“$34 million per year would pay for 2800 hip replacements, or 1700 coronary bypass operations, or 21,000 cataract removals – isn’t that a better use of the money rather than paying for carbon credits to cover Contact’s emissions?

“Furthermore the import of gas, which is only going to become more expensive with intensive competition from Japan and India, will add to our record current account deficit.

“Contact is the last of the big generators to embrace wind power and I would encourage Chief Executive David Baldwin to put his considerable talents into moving Contact into more renewable energy generation, rather than more fossil fuels.

“Contact may have 95,000 New Zealand shareholders, but it is half owned by Australian based Origin Energy, who will financially benefit from a gas-fired plant, while the New Zealand taxpayers pick up the tab for the carbon emissions.

“Climate change demands that all future power generation comes from renewable sources – now is not the time to invest in fossil fuel generation.”

ENDS

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