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Electricity Revenue—Insulation and Household Compensation

Thursday 28 August 2008 (advance copy) Hansard source (external site)

Smith3. Hon Dr NICK SMITH (National—Nelson) Link to this
to the Minister responsible for Climate Change Issues

How does he reconcile his statement yesterday that the $1 billion home insulation and household compensation for the emissions trading scheme is coming from the extra revenue that flows from the Crown through electricity prices, when he confirmed in the House on 20 May 2008 that the State-owned enterprises that are anticipating increased profits have already planned to use those increased profits as part of their investment programme in renewal energy production, and that without that increased investment there is not the slightest prospect of meeting our targets?

ParkerHon DAVID PARKER (Minister responsible for Climate Change Issues) Link to this

What I said then—and it remains true—is that State-owned enterprises do use revenues they collect from electricity to invest in renewables. They, and private electricity companies, are already responding to the Government’s clear direction on climate change. They know that it is the smart and affordable thing to do.

DunneHon Peter Dunne Link to this

Is the Minister able to tell the House this afternoon which New Zealand households will benefit, and by how much each week, from the package of household compensation that has been negotiated as part of this bill; if he is not able to tell the House this information today, how does he expect the House to be able to make an informed decision on the bill in the absence of this critical information?

ParkerHon DAVID PARKER Link to this

The projections as to likely additional revenue to the Crown and generators as a consequence of emission pricing have been public for months, for those who wish to look at the record at the select committee to ascertain it, and the amount that is being invested includes $1 billion in energy efficiency.

SmithHon Dr Nick Smith Link to this

Does the Minister agree with this statement made by Michael Cullen on 20 May that “the State-owned enterprises that are anticipating increased profits have already planned to use those increased profits as part of their investment programme in energy production, and that without that increased investment, there is not the slightest prospect” of the Government meeting its renewable energy targets—does he agree with that statement from Dr Cullen?

CullenHon Dr Michael Cullen Link to this

Tedious repetition.

ParkerHon DAVID PARKER Link to this

As Dr Cullen says, this is tedious repetition from the member opposite. The statement the member refers to was a question from Dr Cullen, and I responded appropriately. Both the question and the answer were correct.

SmithHon Dr Nick Smith Link to this

I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. This is an important issue, because the Government said yesterday that it would use the $1 billion for the Green Party’s negotiated package for insulation. I asked the Minister a very simple question. Did he agree with the statement made by Dr Cullen in a question to him a few weeks ago? I did not receive an answer to that question.

WilsonMadam SPEAKER Link to this

The Minister addressed it. The member may not have got an answer he wanted, but certainly the Minister addressed the nature of that question.

SmithHon Dr Nick Smith Link to this

What budgetary provision has been made for the $1 billion home insulation package promised to the Green Party and for the one-off electricity rebate promised to all consumers, or are we seeing a rerun of 1990, when the outgoing Labour Government made a whole lot of financial commitments without any budgetary provision?

ParkerHon DAVID PARKER Link to this

The normal appropriation processes will be followed. Amongst other things there will be reference in the legislation to the $1 billion insulation retrofit and other efficiency programmes. But it seems somewhat ironic that Dr Smith has been complaining in the last few months that we were not recycling extra revenues back into the economy, and is now complaining that we are.

FitzsimonsJeanette Fitzsimons Link to this

Can the Minister confirm, in response to the question from the Hon Peter Dunne, that every home that is fully insulated and that has a clean wood-burner installed will save tens of dollars a week forever on power bills, and that the more the cost of electricity rises, the more those homes will save?

ParkerHon DAVID PARKER Link to this

Indeed I can, and it reinforces what the Labour-led Government has been saying for a long time—that just about everything one does in the name of climate change makes sense for other reasons. We hope to help consumers save a lot more in energy than the cost will be under the emissions trading scheme.

SmithHon Dr Nick Smith Link to this

How much will homeowners receive in the rebate that was announced yesterday as part of getting other parties’ support for the emissions trading scheme?

ParkerHon DAVID PARKER Link to this

As has already been publicly disclosed, the combination of the cash payments to people who receive Working for Families or benefits, plus the rebate on people’s electricity accounts, is expected to equal the cost of the rise in electricity prices in the first year.

MackeyMoana Mackey Link to this

What are the benefits of the billion-dollar investment in energy efficiency for New Zealand homes?

ParkerHon DAVID PARKER Link to this

This is undoubtedly the biggest push for energy efficiency this country has ever seen. Electricity prices are estimated by Contact Energy to rise by 4 percent in 2010 from the emissions trading scheme. Energy efficiency can help New Zealanders save more than that—as Jeanette Fitzsimons has already said, forever. In other words, it is a no-brainer, which should mean that even the National Party can understand it.

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