It seems that Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee might be having a rethink of National’s ridiculous pre-election position of opposing the Household Lighting Efficiency Standard that would see the phase-out of inefficient incandescent bulbs for household lighting purposes.
NZPA has reported:
A newspaper today reported a National staffer saying the phase out would not go ahead but Mr Brownlee would not confirm that.
Mr Brownlee said officials at the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority were doing some work on the issue.
“We’ll be making an announcement about that in due course,” Mr Brownlee said.
Steve Pierson at The Standard thinks this is a backflip by Brownlee [EDIT: Steve Pierson acknowledges he got it wrong and has now edited his post]. I wouldn’t go that far, as no decision has yet been made, but it is an optimistic sign that Brownlee has asked EECA to do some work on the issue rather than make a knee-jerk political decision that is not supported by the evidence. I’m confident that he will recieve the same professional science-based advice from EECA that Jeanette Fitzsimons received when she was Energy Efficiency Spokesperson for the last government – advice that supports the introduction of the new efficiency standard.
Even China, hardly an environmental paragon on the world stage, are phasing out incandescent bulbs. So are Australia and Great Britain. Surely this is not an issue that Brownlee wants New Zealand to be seen as dragging the chain on. If it does turn out to be a flip-flop, it is one I will support him on.