4 Apr 2011

Government energy aims outlined in draft document

8:29 pm on 4 April 2011

Acting Energy and Resources Minister Hekia Parata says an energy strategy mistakenly published on-line is a draft document and is not final.

The paper shows the Government's highest priority will be expanding oil, gas and coal exports, even as it reaffirms the goal of getting 90% of New Zealand's electricity from renewable sources.

Opponents say that despite despite hundreds of submissions, the document is almost identical to a draft issued in July.

On Morning Report, Ms Parata played down the significance of the draft. She said the actual strategy will go before cabinet over the next few weeks.

The Coal Action Network Aotearoa campaign group says the document shows promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are a sham. It says the Government is not listening.

And the World Wide Fund for Nature says the strategy fails to prepare people for a time of scarcer oil.

The Ministry of Economic Development says roughly 300 submissions were received on the draft released last year.

But none of the strategy's 12 priorities have changed. Only a few minor tweaks have been made.

Radio New Zealand's environment reporter says the strategy retains the goal of lifting the amount of New Zealand's electricity which is supplied from renewable sources like wind, solar and tidal from about 70% to 90% by 2025.

Labour's environment spokesperson Charles Chauvel says the target is worthless without any plans to reach it.

Industry view

The Petrolem Exploration and Production Association says there still a strong demand for the use of fossil fuels for transport and other things.

Executive officer John Pfahlert says New Zealand is rich in possible fuels such as lignite, coal and petroleum and the Government wants to maximise its return from it.

Mr Pfahlert says the Government made $1 billion in taxes and royalties from the petroleum exploration industry in the past year.