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Gareth Hughes to the Prime Minister on climate change and fossil-fuel power stations

Gareth Hughes MP
Gareth Hughes MP
gareth [dot] hughes [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)
"When the Prime Minister of New Zealand stated that the country was on the right track, was the Prime Minister aware of this briefing to his Minister for Climate Change Issues, released under the Official Information Act, which clearly states: “The gap is growing wider between our climate change targets and the reality.”?"
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6. GARETH HUGHES on behalf of Dr RUSSEL NORMAN to the Prime Minister : Does he stand by all his statements?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.

Gareth Hughes : Does he stand by his statement made yesterday that "There hasn't been a single fossil fuel electricity power plant established in the 6 years we've been in Government"?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Yes.

Gareth Hughes : Does he remember personally opening the McKee 100 megawatt gas-fired power plant, which contributes to climate change from releasing fossil fuels, on 21 March last year, and perhaps this photo of the Prime Minister opening it will jog his memory?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Yes, and a lovely photo.

Gareth Hughes : Is the Prime Minister now saying that apart from the McKee plant, which he personally opened, his Government still, though, has not opened a single fossil fuel electricity power plant in the 6 years he has been in Government?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : The correct term should be coal-fired power plant.

Gareth Hughes : Well, does the Prime Minister remember personally opening the Stratford 200 megawatt gas fossil fuel - powered plant in Taranaki on 31 May, and perhaps this photo of him opening it—and, in fact, commemorating the plaque—will jog his memory?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Yes, and I am touched that the member has so many photos of me. If he wants, I will sign them, and he can take them back after playtime.

Gareth Hughes : Well, when the Prime Minister—[Interruption] Let us get back to the important issues, eh? When the Prime Minister said—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I did not catch the interjection, but can the member just stand and ask his question.

Gareth Hughes : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I took offence at the ageist remark from the Prime Minister—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I did not hear the interjection, but it is probably a time for all members to just settle and toughen up a bit. I invite the member to ask a supplementary question, otherwise we can move on.

Gareth Hughes : Well, when the Prime Minister of New Zealand stated that the country was on the right track, was the Prime Minister aware of this briefing to his Minister for Climate Change Issues, released under the Official Information Act, which clearly states: "The gap is growing wider between our climate change targets and the reality."?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Yes.

Gareth Hughes : Is New Zealand on the right track regarding climate change when it is ranked in the top 10 countries, according to the Fraser Institute, for policies that support fossil fuels and the oil and gas industry, yet has dropped below Saudi Arabia in the rankings of support mechanisms for renewables?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Yes, the country is on the right track. The member can play games with all sorts of silly little numbers if wants to, but the reality is that this is one of the few countries in the world that actually have an emissions trading scheme. This is a country investing very heavily in science and research in relation to the biggest area of greenhouse gas emissions we have, which is agriculture. This is a country that is working hard to make sure that we reach our 90 percent renewable target. What that member is really saying to New Zealanders is that he wants to put them out of work by closing down their factory or whatever it might be, or he wants to charge consumers a lot more. That is, again, why, when we went to the polls and he explained that to the public, they firmly rejected his policies.

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