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Govt Moves Fast With Energy Bills

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Gerry Brownlee
Gerry Brownlee

Wellington, Dec 18 NZPA - The Government has put one of its energy bills through Parliament under urgency and the second is well on the way to becoming law.

The previous government's legal requirement for oil companies to mix petrol and diesel with biofuel was wiped out yesterday when a repeal bill passed all its stages.

When Parliament was suspended at midnight the second bill, which removes the 10-year moratorium on new coal and gas-fired power stations, was in its final stage.

The Energy (Fuels, Levies and References) Biofuel Obligation Repeal Bill passed its third reading 62-59 after hours of strong criticism from Labour and the Greens.

The Maori Party also opposed it and so did United Future, although both parties have support agreements with National.

The agreements allow the parties to disagree on anything other than confidence issues like the budget.

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee said biofuels should be introduced through companies responding to commercial, environmental and marketing considerations, not because the Government told them to do it.

Labour and the Greens accused the Government of environmental vandalism.

They said the repeal would destroy the fledgling biofuel industry in New Zealand and damage New Zealand's international reputation.

The Electricity (Renewable Preference) Repeal Bill was also given heavy treatment by opposition parties.

Mr Brownlee said the ban on new fossil-fuelled power stations was unnecessary and would undermine security of supply.

He said the previous government's emissions trading scheme (ETS) put a price on pollution, providing adequate incentives for power companies to invest in renewable generation.

Labour's former climate change minister, David Parker, said there was an exemption in the moratorium for security of supply.

He said Mr Brownlee's reliance on the ETS was ridiculous because the new government intended reviewing it and had removed any certainty about its future provisions.

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