Why power prices matter

News that the CEO of Contact Energy is now earning $1.7 million a year, or $33,000 a week, has shocked many New Zealanders and reinforces the urgent need for Labour’s NZ Power policy, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“Currently power companies are allowed to charge excessive prices by pricing all electricity at the price paid for the most expensive electricity produced (often gas fired).
“Under Labour’s NZ Power consumers pay the average, rather than the highest, cost of generation. This saves hundreds of dollars a year for the average household and about 5 per cent for commercial users.
“This is only fair. Sixty per cent of NZ’s electricity comes from hydro, which is the cheapest electricity to produce in the world. It’s fuelled by the energy which comes from our public rivers. At present the public gets little benefit from this.
“I have been challenged by the business community on how I justify Labour’s policy to drop power prices.
“It’s easy.  People are cold. A couple of weeks ago I was in Wanganui. It was a cold day. I dropped into a suburban library. I was told many of the people who come in do so to get warm. They stay for hours on cold days because they cannot afford to heat their homes.

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Government has no solutions to tackle risks to economy

The National Government has no solutions to tackle the serious risks to the economy identified by the Reserve Bank today, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler this morning highlighted falling dairy prices, declining log exports, strong immigration and high house price inflation as factors threatening the economic recovery. The Governor also noted that the exchange rate was at an unsustainable level.
“The quarter-point rise in the Official Cash Rate to 3.25 per cent means mortgage interest rates are well on their way towards 9 per cent.
“These pressures will add to the increasing cost of living. Kiwis know times are tough when 46 per cent of working New Zealanders have had no increase in their wage rate in the past year.
“National’s tool box is empty.
“Conversely, Labour has ideas to curb all these risks.
“Interest rates are going up because house prices are out of control in Auckland. Continue reading

No guarantee 85% of MRP in Kiwi hands

The Government is no longer willing to assure New Zealanders that Mighty River Power remains 85% Kiwi owned, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.
“National has until now repeatedly assured New Zealanders that Mighty River Power would be 85% Kiwi owned. Just two weeks after being listed they can no longer provide that guarantee.
“Today I asked Bill English a direct question. Can he confirm that Mighty River Power is 85% Kiwi owned?
“He said: ‘I can’t give that assurance … what we always said is that at the time of the float it would be’.
“That directly contradicts what John Key said in November 2011. When asked, ‘Can you guarantee that no more than 10 to 15 per cent of these shares will end up in foreign hands’ he said: ‘Yes. I spent my life starting in investment banking. I know how these things work’.
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