by Gareth Hughes
Anyone else nearly choke on their Weet-Bix this morning listening to Steven Joyce on Morning Report?
It was astounding. The ‘Minister for Everything’ tried to put a positive spin on Norske Skog’s layoffs at their Kawerau mill yet expanding their Tasmanian mill by pointing out their desire to move into a ‘sunrise’ industry, biofuels. He mentioned ‘there’s talk’ of a ‘primary growth partnership with them to put together an opportunity to invest in this technology’ – sounds good but he somehow forgot to mention it was only a few months back the Government scrapped support for biofuels in New Zealand.
It wasn’t just my coffee steaming this morning. The Government deliberately sabotaged the biofuel industry when they were first elected in 2008, voted against the Green’s Sustainable Biofuels Bill and have presided over the industry’s near-destruction in New Zealand culminating with the total axing of their grant scheme in May.
They are like a fair-weather sports fan who passionately rubbishes a sports team until someone else praises them, then making out they have always been their ‘number one fan.’
Worse than just destroying the biofuels sector in New Zealand Joyce is actively doing everything he can to increase New Zealand’s dependence on expensive imported oil, borrowing billions for uneconomic motorways and subsidising dangerous deep sea oil drilling, risky fracking and lignite coal as if the climate didn’t matter.
The reality is biofuels are a big opportunity for New Zealand. Sustainable biofuels can boost our economic development, see New Zealand more resilient and possibly even self-sufficient in transport fuel and reduce carbon emissions. I’d love to see real support from the Government not just fair-weather, hollow words.
If the Government is serious about supporting ‘sunrise’ industries it’s time they saw the light and moved from the twilight of fossil fuels into the bright future of clean energy.