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Meridian - Energy Minister's Plaything

Posted on 23 Nov 2004

Meridian Energy Chief Executive Keith Turner's attack on his competitors, Contact and Genesis, is shallow and facile, ACT New Zealand Energy Spokesman Ken Shirley said today.

"The holier-than-thou public stance of Meridian with its boastful claims of total dependency on renewables makes it nothing but the mouthpiece of a misguided Minister with his distorted vision for the future of New Zealand's energy sector.

"Competitively priced electricity is one of New Zealand's comparative advantages and essential for the added value processing of our primary products whether it be milk powder, pulp and paper or aluminium.

"Minister Pete Hodgson's determination to drive up the price of electricity by imposing carbon taxes on gas, oil and coal, in order to subsidise wind generation, is extremely shortsighted.  The Government recently gifted Meridian millions of dollars of carbon credits that it stole from forest owners.  Meridian then sold these credits to the Dutch Government.

"While the Maui gas field may be near the end of its commercial life, New Zealand is largely under explored with extremely good prospects for substantial new gas reserves.  Similarly we have sufficient coal reserves for up to 1000 years of electricity generation, and new clean technologies are emerging for coal-fired generation, including the near total removal of C02 emissions.

"It is extremely rich for Meridian to claim the moral high ground from an environmental perspective when we consider the impact of major hydro dams on our river systems.   How does Meridian propose expanding its hydro generation given the recent Project Aqua fiasco?

"It must also be appreciated that hydro generation is unreliable during dry periods and must be backed up with thermal generation.  While wind generation is both variable and intermittent and to that extent is more dependent on thermal back-up than hydro.

"New Zealand should be pursuing a balanced mix of fuels for our generation.  It serves no useful purpose for this large state SOE to be claiming any moral high ground particularly when those claims do not stand up to scrutiny," Mr Shirley said.


Ken Shirley MP           
Phone:            04 470 6635  /  021 570 877
Fax:                 04 473 3532

Scott Dennison, Press Secretary
Phone:            04 470 6622  /  027 450 1407