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The Government’s goal of moth-balling natural gas power generation will come with a steep price tag, with the Government admitting that it is looking for businesses to be able to shut down during peak times, National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Jonathan Young says.

“The Government’s ideological target for power generation will come with a steep price tag, and will mean New Zealand must juggle between excessive power prices or electricity shortages,” Mr Young says.

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods told select committee that in order to avoid higher power prices she is looking for industries to switch off during peak times, to keep the need for costly overbuilding of renewable generation as low as possible.

“There aren’t many businesses I know that can switch off, without having a significant effect on their productivity.

“If we really want to reduce poverty, lift incomes and enable people to get into their first home, we need businesses to be as active and successful as possible, so switching off seems an incredibly ludicrous suggestion.

“This sounds very third world to me and I am in awe that such common sense seems so rare in Government these days.

“Natural gas needs to remain as the contingency to meet energy demand, rather than Ms Wood’s suggestion of industry switching off to ease energy demand.

“Having natural gas as a backup in our system works perfectly. Gas is the lowest emission fossil fuel, keeps security of supply strong and prices affordable for New Zealanders. 

“I’m all for renewable power generation, and I’m proud the previous National government increased renewable generation from 65 per cent to 85 per cent.

“But completely moth-balling non-renewable generation and just relying on businesses to turn the lights off when there are inevitable power shortages when the sun doesn’t shine or wind doesn’t blow isn’t the answer.

“Why Ms Woods would want to punish families and businesses is beyond me. Families don’t want higher prices or power shortages. This would definitely dampen enthusiasm for any transition to a lower emission future,” Mr Young says.

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