Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee remains unable to present a strong business case for the multi-million dollar asset swaps he is forcing on SOEs Meridian and Genesis, Labour’s Energy spokespeople Nanaia Mahuta and Chris Hipkins said today.
“At the Commerce Select Committee this morning Gerry Brownlee was asked why he had not put forward a decent business case to justify his transfer of the Tekapo A and B power stations from one State Owned Enterprise, Meridian Energy, to another, Genesis Energy,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“The best argument he could come up with was that because it hadn’t rained enough during recent years this was evidence that Meridian hadn’t been managing the Waitaki system efficiently. That’s ridiculous.
“Evidence presented to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee from groups like the Institute of Professional Engineers shows the flaws in Mr Brownlee’s arguments.
“The Institute says the Waitaki water system works best as a coherent whole and splitting it up could lead to less efficient use of water,” Ms Mahuta said.
Chris Hipkins said: “It’s hard to see how the Government, by ignoring widespread expert advice, will do anything but push up power prices.
“Even Treasury has argued that there isn’t a robust case for making these changes.
“State Owned Enterprises aren’t toys. They’re multi-million dollar enterprises. Any changes the government makes need to be based on robust business cases and rigorous analysis. Gerry Brownlee hasn’t done that.
“Under Gerry Brownlee’s watch power prices will continue to rise and security of supply is continuing to get worse.
“Former National Party Minister Max Bradford made a real hash of his power sector reforms of the 1990s – which led to huge increases in prices. Sadly for price-wary Kiwis, Gerry Brownlee and National appear to have learned nothing from their past mistakes,” Chris Hipkins said.