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Saturday, December 20, 2008

NZ fails to Ban The Bulb
Over the last few years, the phasing out and banning of domestic incandescent light bulbs has been the recipient of more that it's fair share of gesture politics and the latest news from New Zealand shows the danger of politicians not having the courage of their convictions and setting deadlines for action which exceed their tenure in power.

In New Zealand, the new energy and resources minister, Gerry Brownlee, has said that his government will not be honouring the pledge of the previous Labour government and phasing out the use of wasteful incandescent light bulbs.

Unfortunately, while arguing in favour of "consumer choice" Gerry Brownlee does not explain how every consumer is supposed to become sufficiently informed about the cost of wasting energy on the national economy, national security and global carbon emissions or how every individual can be expected to to accurately assess all of the costs and benefits to New Zealand of using more efficient technologies... or not.

In Ban The Bulb's opinion this government's populist defence of "consumer choice" really amounts to a massive failure to defend the national economy and the global environment.

Incandescent light bulbs have been reprieved.

Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee told Parliament yesterday he would not be going ahead with the previous Labour-led Government's plan to phase them out.

He said he was "lifting the ban" on traditional light bulbs, but Labour MPs said there had never been a ban and the intention had been to gradually replace them with new energy-efficient bulbs.

Mr Brownlee said the Government had "real concerns about telling people they have to move to energy-efficient light bulbs by decree.

"We are committed to energy efficiency in the home, and efficient lighting has an important role to play in helping us reduce the amount of energy we use.

"But this Government believes it is a matter of consumer choice."

Mr Brownlee said people needed good, credible information about different lighting options. Then they could decide for themselves what they wanted.

"Lifting the previous Government's ban on incandescent light bulbs simply means we are allowing their continued sale and I am confident the consumer trend to energy-efficient bulbs will continue," he said.

National used the light bulb issue during the election campaign as an example of Labour's "nanny state" mentality.

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