14 August 2008
NEWS: National - Going for growth
National Party Leader John Key says a Government he leads will focus on security of electricity supply, while upholding New Zealand's environmental responsibilities.
"Quality infrastructure is vital to lifting national productivity, improving public services, and generating long-term economic growth. A critical component of that growth engine is our electricity sector and, in particular, our electricity supply."
Mr Key was speaking at a meeting of the Council for Infrastructure Development, highlighting aspects of National's Energy Policy, to be released by National's Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee today.
Mr Key says there are four key things National will do to ensure New Zealanders can have confidence in their electricity infrastructure. They are:
• Acknowledge the extent of future demand. National will be realistic about the likely need for more electricity supply to keep New Zealand growing in the years ahead.
• Reform the Resource Management Act (RMA) and introduce Priority Consenting to allow more generation and transmission to be built. The RMA is a key barrier to new generation being built. National will introduce to Parliament a bill to reform the RMA within the first 100 days of its first term. The legislation will include removing the ministerial veto over consents, reducing the number of consent categories, and putting an end to frivolous and vexatious objections.
• Send a clear signal that gas will be a part of the energy mix needed for security of supply. New Zealand has fantastic renewable resources like hydro and wind, and it's important that we develop those. But the lesson from this winter is that thermal electricity generation is essential in keeping the lights on. National will therefore overturn the Government's ban on new base load thermal power stations.
• Streamline the investment and decision-making processes for investing in new transmission. National, in Government, will undertake a careful review of the roles played by the Electricity Commission, Commerce Commission, and Transpower. We will do this with a particular focus on reducing duplication and costly bureaucracy, and ensuring the best outcomes for consumers - in terms of security of supply and affordability.
Mr Key says that beyond security of electricity supply, National knows that New Zealand must balance its energy needs with its environmental responsibilities.
"National is determined to provide clear policy settings that favour renewable electricity generation.
"We expect that our proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS) will result in no new coal stations being built - unless proven technologies for carbon capture and storage change the emissions profile of coal."
Policy/Backgrounder: click here