Thursday, August 14, 2008

Energy policy that is economically sound

Since National has shown a lack of imagination, (which Not PC has ably exposed for the vacuousness that it is)

The Greens are scaremongering about gas, and constantly talking about "we" lose control and "our" energy, as if they somehow own what others produce, sell and buy.

So what should be done about energy? Well here are my thoughts:

1. Remove the legal restriction that prevents local lines companies from investing in generation.
2. Replace the RMA with a comprehensive legal framework for land use based on private property rights, including rights to air, adjacent waterways and sight lines based on long standing past planning approvals.
3. Remove sector specific legal barriers to building any kinds of power plants. Whether any are built should be based upon commercial assessment by the private sector.
4. Sell 49% interests in all three government generating/retail companies to separate buyers partially as injections of new capital. Issue remaining shares to all New Zealand citizens. Adopt a similar approach to Transpower. Investment in new generation and transmission is unlikely when the government controls 70% of the market.
5. Cease funding EECA and subsidies for energy efficiency.
6. Abolish the Electricity Commission.
7. Require local authorities to privatise their ownership of local electricity lines companies, so that underinvestment in those companies can be addressed by a combination of new capital and private entrepreneurship.
8. Give no subsidies, assistance or preferences to "alternative energy" including biofuels. New fuels should survive on their merits.
9. Abolish the proposed regional fuel taxes, existing local authority petroleum tax and inflation indexing of fuel tax. New funding for roads should come directly from charging road users by road owners.

Because, after all, why do you think politicians know any more about what energy supplies New Zealanders should and will use today than Rob Muldoon and Bill Birch thought they did in the late 1970s and early 80s?

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