Comment from David Parker on Tiwai Point negotiations

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

As the journalists who covered the stand-up following Meridians Energys appearance at select committee on Thursday will know, I did not say the Government should not intervene in Tiwai Point.David PARKER

Spokesperson for Finance

30 March 2013 

Comment from David Parker on Tiwai Point negotiations

As the journalists who covered the stand-up following Meridian’s  Energy’s appearance  at select committee on Thursday will know, I did not say the Government should not intervene in Tiwai Point. I did say that it is appropriate for the Government to intervene to ascertain whether the Tiwai power contract should be renegotiated. This is because there are important interests involved with the Tiwai Smelter which go beyond Meridian’s power contract.

Those interests include; the employment of the many workers and contractors at the site and the wider effect on the region’s economy, the effect that decreasing export sales would have on our current account deficit, as well as the effect on power prices and SOE sale values.

I noted at Select Committee that Meridian Energy did not think a commercially wise outcome was likely to be achieved in its negotiations with the smelter and that a better outcome for the company could be to send power north.  That would decrease the price of electricity, and make most gas and coal fired power stations redundant and less valuable.

I emphasised that in light of the lessons learned from National’s complete lack of transparency around the SkyCity convention centre, its mishandling of the ultrafast broadband deal and its mismanagement of Solid Energy, it is critical that the Government is transparent about the trade-offs involved in any deal with Rio Tinto.

As everyone knows, the Government is desperate to hold up the value of Mighty River Power and Genesis because of its SOE sales plans, regardless of the cost to taxpayers and power consumers.

Taxpayers deserve transparency around any deal the Government makes with Rio Tinto . Transparency is the only way the trade offs involved can be fairly assessed by the public.

The absence of transparency is yet more proof that New Zealand’s electricity prices are not competitive.

ENDS

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