18 Feb 2024
The Government’s decision to continue pursuing the Lake Onslow project shows just how tone-deaf it is to the cost-of-living crisis, National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Stuart Smith says.
“Let’s be clear – Lake Onslow is a gigantic, hugely expensive white elephant boondoggle that Labour should consign to the dustbin of history.
“Advancing a project with a $16 billion price tag in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis makes a mockery of Chris Hipkins’ claim that the Government would focus ‘bread and butter issues’.
“At a time when we should be reigning in spending and focusing on improving the outcomes for Kiwi households, Labour remains fixated on a massively wasteful project which will not be delivered until at least the mid-2030s.
“Even now, Lake Onslow has a $16 billion price tag on it, but nobody thinks that will be the final cost. That’s before we consider the problems with consenting the scheme and the fact that it generates electricity in the wrong place.
“Lake Onslow has already cost $24 million. Inexplicably, it is funded from money set aside for ‘shovel-ready’ projects. The project is the very definition of the opposite of shovel-ready and claiming otherwise is an insult to taxpayers.
“We should be proud of our existing renewable generation percentage, and we can and should be doing more to make it easier to get renewables built.
“But Lake Onslow is a return to the bad old days of expensive Government investment in a well-functioning electricity market.
“Labour should focus on encouraging more renewable electricity investment, instead of vast legacy projects like Onslow.
“National will immediately cancel the Lake Onslow project if elected in October and focus on making it easier for renewables to be consented and built.”