Wellington, July 25 NZPA - The National Party is still focused on fossil fuels, and its draft energy strategy is light on setting out plans on how to achieve a goal of 90 percent renewable energy by 2025, says Labour.
Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee released the draft New Zealand Energy Strategy (NZES) and a draft New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NZEECS) on Friday.
He said the strategies had been updated to align with energy policy priorities and to reflect a stronger focus on economic development.
The NZES sets the strategic direction for the energy sector and the role energy will play in the economy.
The NZEECS is a companion strategy, specifically focusing on the promotion of energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy.
"The Government proposes to reaffirm the target that 90 percent of electricity generation be from renewable energy sources by 2025, providing this does not affect security of supply," Mr Brownlee said.
It was immediately criticised by Peter Hardstaff, of WWF New Zealand, who said the NZES was "riddled with holes" and failed to present a convincing strategy for how the target would be reached.
Meanwhile, there was significant depth and detail on plans for fossil fuel extraction, he said.
Labour's energy spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta and environment spokesman Charles Chauvel said the draft strategies did little to actively promote the use of renewable energy.
"While the documents pay lip service to the goal of achieving 90 percent renewable electricity generation by 2025, they foreshadow no incentives to promote wind, hydro, solar, wave, and tidal energy," the MPs said.
They said there was too much focus on the use of fossil fuels and, if adopted, New Zealand would be locked in to using them over its natural advantages in cleaner, renewable alternatives.
Another concern was the short time-frame for public response to the documents, closing on September 2.
"Six weeks is a very short period of time to make submissions on policies that signal a major retreat from a lower-emissions, renewable energy future," the MPs said.