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A lot riding on Tiwai smelter decision

Opinion Piece

Re: Electricity glut consequences.

It is pleasing to find Trust Tairawhiti, early on in its new livery, showing real signs of transparency (TGH, October 26). I suppose it is both public-spirited and reassuring to put some of the trust’s business decisions in the public arena.

My concern was the trust, with more than $100,000 of our money invested in Meridian Energy, might have missed the “sell now” orders going out to stockbrokers around New Zealand. It is reassuring to know the trustees consider a 6-8 percent sell-off (it has happened) “fairly small in context when compared to the gains the trust has experienced (past tense) from these companies”.

My point was the Energy Minister, Megan Woods, has announced the Government will no longer (present tense) be propping up the Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter and the 14 percent of NZ’s electricity supply from Lake Manapouri that it receives at low rates.

The downstream consequence is even more alarming. If the smelter no longer takes the Manapouri output, that means an oversupply of electricity. What value then is our $125m spend on a geothermal generator in Kawerau? Plus, as I’ve said before, it’s built on a non-renewable Maori land lease. I defy anyone in charge of our trust to show otherwise.

Winston Moreton