It is ironic that there is so little to criticise inside Gerry Brownlee’s draft Energy Strategy, but that’s because there is almost nothing in it! Length is not really a good indication of quality, particularly where policy documents are concerned, but the Minister has pared down the 112 page Energy Strategy to just 20 pages and the 86 page energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy from 86 pages only 12, revealing a severe lack of imagination. The chop is so severe that Brownlee has combined the two draft documents into one, otherwise they would have to be called draft leaflets.
The two major criticisms that can be leveled at the new documents are the focus on developing all our coal and oil resources as fast as possible and selling them to the highest (read overseas) bidder, and the complete lack of any specificity on how any of the policies that are mentioned will be achieved. Except for the “drill baby, drill” policy, there isn’t anything new at all in either document, just a re-branding of some of the same targets Labour had in the existing strategies, minus any programmes to achieve them.
The Energy Strategy and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy cover some complex policy territory, but fortunately there is a Green Party submission guide ready and waiting to help you have your say. It’s a bit long and detailed, but if you treat it like a pick & mix of good ideas to choose from, you can create your very own custom menu of goodies to feed Minister Brownlee’s imagination. If you don’t agree with something in the guide, delete it and add your own!