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An open letter says:
On Thursday 18 April you jointly announced your respective parties’ electricity policy to take into the next election. We respect your right to announce new policy at any time. However, the timing and nature of the announcement has deeply troubled the New Zealand business community.
Business shares your concerns about constantly rising power prices and their impact on our global competitiveness. Businesses and consumers work hard every day to minimise their spending on electricity in order to stay in business and to make their household budgets stretch further.
However, we do not think that electricity policies based on subsidies and greater state control are the right answers. Such policies have been tried in the past and have been shown to be incapable of meeting the challenges of a modern economy with a complex, real-time electricity market.
Note that one of the ten signatories is the Major Electricity Users group. This is the group that represents the largest users of electricity in New Zealand, and who would benefit the most from policies that actually would work to sustainably reduce power prices.
MEUG’s aim is:
To add value to MEUG members’ management of electricity costs and risks through market intelligence, networking, facilitating solutions to improve competition, maintain reliability, promote efficient operations and regulate monopolies to achieve outcomes consistent with competitive markets for the long-term benefit of electricity consumers.
So be very clear – MEUG does support regulation to achieve better competition. But they rightfully say the regulation should be aimed at the monopoly aspects, not at the 14 generator companies.
Of particular concern with the policies announced is their chilling effect on investment across the entire economy.
We are especially concerned at investment analyst reports noting the potential for $1.4 billion of shareholder value to be wiped off the books of the private power companies. A similar amount, if not more, will come off the value of the public power companies.
Capital destruction on such a scale will severely undermine business confidence. It sends signals to investors, on whom the New Zealand economy relies, that their wealth and the benefits it provides are not welcome. Investment plans and job creation opportunities are foregone.
Rather than remote and intangible, this dampening of investment intentions will have a direct and real economic impact on those of all walks of life who seek to accumulate wealth by working hard to save, invest and grow. It causes interest rates to rise, depletes retirement savings held in KiwiSaver accounts and means that other economic opportunities such as first homes are foregone and new business ventures as savings are unexpectedly reduced. Individuals are less well-off as a result.
No one at all believes this policy will be a one off. If Labour and Greens get to effectively nationalise 14 energy generators, then why would they stop there?
Investors are stunned by this policy from Labour. They expect it from the Greens, but most people thought that Muldoonist price controls were a relic of the 1970s and not a serious policy proposition 40 years later. But for some reason Labour seems determined to outflank the Greens on the far left.
Most businesses would love to have cheaper electricity. Who wouldn’t? But they know the way to achieve that is by improving competition, not abolishing it.Tags: Business NZ, electricity, MEUG, nationalisation
Questions for Oral Answer 2pm-3.15pm
Questions to Ministers
- MAGGIE BARRY to the Minister of Finance: What steps is the Government taking to keep down the cost of living for New Zealanders?
- DAVID SHEARER to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?
- AARON GILMORE to the Minister for the Environment: What recent reports has she seen on the impact of the Resource Management Act 1991 on business investment in New Zealand?
- METIRIA TUREI to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his reported statement in relation to Cabinet’s decision to integrate Wanganui Collegiate, that it was a very difficult decision, but he is sure it was the right thing to do; if so, why?
- Hon ANNETTE KING to the Minister of Health: Is he confident that the Government’s initiative to provide “Better, Sooner, More Convenient” health care is meeting his expectations; if not, why not?
- SCOTT SIMPSON to the Minister of Health: What progress is the Government making on improving access to angiograms for patients with severe chest pain?
- Hon PHIL GOFF to the Minister of Defence: Will he rule out further cuts to personnel numbers in the New Zealand Defence Force and cuts to the inshore patrol vessel fleet; if not, what cuts are being considered?
- EUGENIE SAGE to the Minister of Tourism: Will any of the extra $158 million for tourism in Budget 2013 be spent on tourism marketing and promotion for the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign; if so, how much?
- ANDREW WILLIAMS to the Minister of Consumer Affairs: Has he seen any reports that New Zealand power prices have increased at twice the rate of most other countries?
- IAN McKELVIE to the Minister for Primary Industries: What progress can he report on efforts made to increase veterinarians in rural New Zealand?
- CATHERINE DELAHUNTY to the Minister of Foreign Affairs: Will New Zealand journalists be able to visit and monitor the New Zealand Police training programme in West Papua when it recommences in September 2013 under an aid allocation of US $2 million; if not, why not?
- GRANT ROBERTSON to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement on 24 September 2012 in relation to the work of the GCSB, “I think you can take confidence in the fact that to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never been informed or ever had reason to believe there’s ever been an error before”?
Today, National are asking 4 questions on topics ranging from cost of living, RMA impacts on businesses, angiograms and veterinarians bonding scheme. Labour are asking 5 questions ranging from issues such as the stock stand question to the Prime Minister, ” Does he stand by all his statements?, to questions about health, defence force staffing levels, power price increases and the GCSB. The Greens are asking 3 questions on issues such as Wanganui Collegiate, tourism funding and police training in West Papua.
Pasty question of the day
Today’s pasty question of the day goes to question 10 from Ian McKelvie (MP for Rangitikei) to the Hon Nathan Guy which asks. What progress can he report on efforts made to increase veterinarians in rural New Zealand?
General Debate 3.15pm to 4.15pm
12 speeches of 5 minute length on any topic that Members of Parliament wish to speak about.
Members orders of the day 4.15pm to 10pm
1) Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Bill – 12 x 10 m speeches – Dr David Clark – Third reading
This bill creates the ability to Monday-ise both Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day so that if these public holidays fail on a weekend day then you would be able to claim the public hoilday on the following Monday. So far this Bill has been supported by all other parties other than National and Act, however is expected to pass tonight as National will not be exercising there power of Veto on this bill.
For background information on this bill, Dr David Clark gave a good summary speech in this bills second reading. Click here for a link to his second reading speech.
2) Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill – 12x 10 min speeches – Louisa Wall – Third reading
This bill is designed to amend the Marriage Act 1955 to allow for a change to section 2(1) to allow Marriages to be conducted between 2 people instead of the status que of between a Man and Women.
The best speech in support of this bill during all the debates has been the one from Chris Auchinvole which is able to be viewed here.
3) Prohibition of Gang Insignia in Government Premises Bill – 12 x 10 m speeches – Todd McClay - Second reading
This bill is designed to control the display of gang symbols and logos on government buildings including schools, hospitals, WINZ and other government buildings, In addition, it stops members of gangs from wearing gang related gear within government buildings.
At the first reading of this bill it was passed 69 to 52 with National, New Zealand First, United Future and Act supporting this bill.
Tags: oral questions, Parliament
(Apologies readers – today’s post is a little later than usual! As such I’ve added links to videos of the oral questions via inthehouse.co.nz – speters)
Oral Questions 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm
Questions to Ministers
- DAVID SHEARER (LAB) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements? (video)
- TODD McCLAY (NAT) to the Minister of Finance: What progress is the Government making in its share offer programme to reduce debt and free up capital for priority spending? (video)
- Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (NZF) to the Prime Minister: Does he believe that he has met the requirements of the Cabinet Manual to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards in his ministerial capacity, his political capacity and his personal capacity; if so, why? (video)
- Hon PHIL HEATLEY (NAT) to the Minister for Social Development: What reports has she received on the latest benefit figures? (video)
- Hon DAVID PARKER (LAB) to the Minister of Finance: Will the recent rise in the New Zealand dollar to a post-float high on the Trade Weighted Index cause job losses among non-primary exporters and import substitution businesses? (video)
- JULIE ANNE GENTER (GRE) to the Minister of Finance: Does he have a plan to fund the Auckland City rail link in the upcoming Budget given that public backing for the rail project is more than twice as strong as the Government’s proposed new motorway north from Puhoi? (video)
- Dr JIAN YANG (NAT) to the Minister for Economic Development: How is the Government recognising the importance of China for New Zealand’s trade, education and tourism sectors? (video)
- Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE (LAB) to the Minister for State Owned Enterprises: What responsibility, if any, does he take for Solid Energy’s precarious financial position? (video)
- NICKY WAGNER (NAT) to the Minister of Housing: How will the $320 million settlement of Housing New Zealand’s insurance claim for earthquake damaged properties help achieve the Government’s priority of rebuilding Christchurch? (video)
- GRANT ROBERTSON (LAB) to the Prime Minister: What role, if any, did he play in recommending the appointment of Ian Fletcher as Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau? (video)
- MIKE SABIN (NAT) to the Associate Minister of Social Development: What early results can he report from the Government’s efforts to deal with welfare fraud? (video)
- GARETH HUGHES (GRE) to the Minister of Energy and Resources: Will he recommend returning the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill to the select committee so that the public can have a say on the so-called “Anadarko Amendment”; if not, why not? (video)
National is asking five questions, Labour four, the Greens two, and NZ First one. Patsy of the day goes to Nicky Wagner for question 9 – how will the $320 million settlement of Housing New Zealand’s insurance claim for earthquake damaged properties help achieve the Government’s priority of rebuilding Christchurch?
Labour is asking the PM a gotcha, and on exchange rates, Solid Energy, and the GCSB Director’s appointment. The Greens are asking on the Auckland City rail link and the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill, and NZ First is asking the PM a gotcha.
Government Bills 3.00 pm – 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm – 10.00 pm
- Crown Minerals Amendment Bill (third reading)
- Conservation Amendment Bill (No 2) (third reading)
- Continental Shelf Amendment Bill (third reading)
- Reserves Amendment Bill (third reading)
- Wildlife Amendment Bill (third reading)
- Legal Assistance (Sustainability) Amendment Bill (second reading)
- Immigration Amendment Bill (second reading)
The Crown Minerals Amendment Bill, Conservation Amendment Bill (No 2), Continental Shelf Amendment Bill, Reserves Amendment Bill and Wildlife Amendment Bill (formerly the omnibus Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Bill) are being guided through the house by Simon Bridges and received their third reading together. The bills aims to promote prospecting for, exploration for, and mining of Crown owned minerals for the benefit of New Zealand.
The Legal Assistance (Sustainability) Amendment Bill makes changes to the provision of legal services paid for by the Crown, including legal aid and lawyers for child and youth advocate services. Specifically, it limits the number of legal aid grants and increases the amount legally aided people must pay. The Bill also limits eligibility for legal aid, reintroduces a user charge for civil and family legal aid, and enables interest to be charged on legal aid debts. Judith Collins is in charge and it received its second reading today.
The Immigration Amendment Bill amends the Immigration Act for the purpose of discouraging people-smuggling. Specifically, it establishes a legal framework for the mandatory detention, under a group warrant, of irregular migrants arriving as part of a mass arrival group. Michael Woodhouse is in charge and its second reading is in progress.No tag for this post.