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Labour MP Takes Brownlee's Spot At Energy Conference

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Charles Chauvel
Charles Chauvel

Wellington, Feb 16 NZPA - Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee is being accused of avoiding questions by not speaking at an energy conference in Auckland today.

Labour's energy spokesman Charles Chauvel had been invited to speak instead. He told The New Zealand Herald that it was disappointing Mr Brownlee did not want to front after being in the job for just 16 months.

"It's an excuse for not wanting to take questions about what the legislation is about or whether there's any kind of master plan here," he said.

The $1300-a day Power and Electricity World Conference takes place as a major shakeup of the electricity market looms, concerns remain over generation capacity and retail prices are rising again.

Mr Brownlee last year announced changes but reforms were at the select committee stage.

"We've got a process that is happening that I don't want to get over the top of. This conference is focused on electricity and I'm very happy that the select committee is going about their work at the moment," Mr Brownlee said.

"If I've got something to say next year then I'll think about it."

Among other key speakers are World Energy Council chairman CP Jain, Transpower chief executive Patrick Strange, Electricity Commission chairman David Caygill and Solid Energy chief executive Don Elder, who is also chairman of the World Coal Institute.

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