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Energy strategy fails to set new direction

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 – Wellington
Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Energy strategy fails to set new direction

The government’s energy policy misses an opportunity and fails in its responsibility to choose a good energy path for New Zealand, Forest and Bird said today.

The government today released The New Zealand Energy Strategy, which aims for a 300 percent increase in the value of the oil and gas sector, from $3 billion in royalties to $12 billion.

By contrast, it proposes just an 11 percent increase in the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources to 90 percent from 79 percent.

“The New Zealand Energy Strategy ought to be focused on decarbonising the economy, for economic benefit and environmental safety,” Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Claire Browning said. “This strategy does the opposite.”

“The government is in pursuit of fossil fuels while, at the same time, talking about renewable energy.”

“The government thinks it can do both things but they are not compatible. Only one of them is sustainable.”

The energy policy continues the fallacy that there can be a “balance” between increasing our extraction of fossil fuels and looking after our environment, she said.

New Zealand’s environmental regulation has always been very weak, particularly offshore.

Legislation introduced by the government last week to impose some environmental controls on activities in our Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf will not fix this. The legislation does make some progress, by regulating the EEZ and territorial sea more effectively than before, but it has some big gaps.

The EEZ legislation is supposed to do the same job as the Resource Management Act, which does not apply beyond 12 nautical miles offshore. But it is much weaker than the RMA, which has sustainability as its basic principle.

ENDS

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