In helping to roll electricity out in a country that is overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuels, the Prime Minister has conveniently ignored her commitment to fighting climate change, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.
The Prime Minister today announced taxpayer funding for Papua New Guinea’s National Electrification Rollout Plan, which aims to increase electricity access to 70 per cent of households by 2030.
PNG is overwhelmingly reliant on oil, gas and coal for its energy needs. Its government is actively ramping up coal exploration and an Australian company was given the green light to extract coal earlier this year.
“While her Government has banned offshore exploration of oil and gas domestically, today Jacinda Ardern committed to hooking more Papua New Guineans up to fossil fuels.
“The PM claims that climate change is her generation’s ‘nuclear-free moment’, but her policies are helping countries like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea develop their fossil fuels.
“Genesis Energy recently ordered 120,000 tonnes of Indonesian coal, and now the Government is actively promoting the development of fossil fuels in Papua New Guinea.
“Does the Government simply have no coherent vision, or is it trying to have it both ways?
“ACT has argued all along that not only would a ban on oil and gas exploration make us poorer as a country, it would drive production of oil and gas overseas which will harm the environment.
“New Zealand’s natural gas has about half the emissions of coal, and our oil has lower emissions than foreign oil. Now we must rely on dirty foreign energy when lake levels are low.
“Just as the Prime Minister can’t work out whether she wants petrol prices to go up or down, she is deeply conflicted about whether cheap fossil fuels are necessary for economic growth and higher living standards.
“In helping to promote economic development in PNG, she is pretending that she hasn’t staked her reputation on fighting climate change.”