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Nick Smith left squirming; Jacqui Dean off-Key

Hon David Parker
Minister of Energy
Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues

15 October 2008 Media Statement

Nick Smith left squirming; Jacqui Dean off-Key

Nick Smith's attempts to justify National's disgraceful decision to ditch the billion dollar household fund for energy efficiency are laughable, Energy and Climate Change Minister David Parker said today.

"Nick Smith tried obfuscating and changing the subject when he was asked at the Oxfam debate in Auckland on Monday night if National was committed to the household fund, until the audience, rightly, demanded a clear answer.

"The household fund is a really important way the government can help New Zealand families adjust to rising power bills and it's appalling that National have not been up front about their intention to scrap it."

David Parker said money for the household fund would come from the additional dividends from state-owned energy companies. "National claims they want to see a revenue-neutral emissions trading scheme, and that's what we're achieving by recycling added revenue into investments where it can do the most good: future-proofing New Zealand homes against rising electricity prices.

"If National is opposed to this revenue recycling, what do they plan to do with this money instead?"

David Parker said National's associate environment spokesperson Jacqui Dean had recently added to the murkiness around National intentions on climate change. In a newspaper report, she 'promised that the party would repeal the legislation because of the cost to industry and agriculture'. (Timaru Herald, 14 October 2008).

"Repealing the ETS would lead to a huge increase in emissions, and a huge increase in the Kyoto liability that taxpayers alone would then have to bear," Mr Parker said.

"National is pretending it is the party of fiscal responsibility but a change such as Jacqui Dean is suggesting would cost taxpayers half a billion dollars.

"In last night's leaders' debate John Key said National would 'amend' the legislation, but Jacqui Dean is telling audiences in the provinces a whole different story.

David Parker said it was hard to believe Ms Dean's comments were an honest mistake given her role as associate environment spokesperson.

"Mind you, this is the same person that said last election National wouldn't be borrowing for tax cuts and instead they would get the money 'from overseas'."


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