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Industry to blame for not selling biofuels - minister

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Gerry Brownlee
Gerry Brownlee

Wellington, July 22 NZPA - Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee today blamed the biofuel industry for the low uptake of a scheme to promote it.

A scheme was introduced in July last year to kick start biofuel production in New Zealand.

The Government last month extended it to cover not just biodiesel in a blend with ordinary diesel of no more than 20 percent biodiesel, but blends up to and including 100 percent biodiesel.

In Parliament today under questioning from Labour's Chris Hipkins, Mr Brownlee said only $230,332 out of the $36 million available had been granted under the scheme.

"I wish to express my profound disappointment that an industry that promised so much has delivered so little despite such an extraordinary available subsidy," he said.

Mr Hipkins asked if the 240 jobs the minister said last year would be generated by the scheme had happened.

"I am extremely disappointed by the failure of this industry to respond to the Government's stimulus," Mr Brownlee said.

However, he said the fuel would have a bigger role to play in the future.

"The reality is that if people do not buy the product, we cannot sell it. That is the problem the industry has. It has failed to sell the product."

In a subsequent statement Mr Hipkins said the Government had hamstrung the fledgling industry by repealing Labour's legislation that set a biofuels sales obligation.

He said the extended scheme was not the way to go as higher biofuel blends could void vehicle warranties.

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