Public control of power the only answer for shivering New Zealanders

The Alliance has backed calls from public health groups, consumer watchdogs and Grey Power to stabilize rocketing electricity prices for consumers.
Alliance Party President Victor Billot says it is clear that many people are finding it impossible to keep their homes warm and dry this winter.
Mr Billot says recent reports and statistics of surging power company profits was a disgrace when people were going cold.
“While corporate managers and their political friends enjoy toasty winter nights in warm dry houses, there are a lot of people shivering in cold dark houses right now.”
“Many New Zealanders can’t afford power prices, they can’t afford insulation, and are living in poor quality and overpriced housing, all of which is a public health and welfare issue.”
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Electricity profits soar as Kiwis struggle to meet the bills

As New Zealand braces for a predicted cold snap, the Alliance Party has attacked out of control electricity price hikes that are leaving families struggling to pay the power bill.

Alliance electricity spokesperson Ian Tinkler says Kiwis are going cold so power companies can boost profits – and he has the statistics to back it up.

Statistics New Zealand today released the latest New Zealand Energy Statistics, which show that household consumers have experienced another electricity price increase this quarter, up 1.4 percent compared with the December 2006 quarter, and up 6.8 percent compared with the previous March quarter. Continue reading

Death of Auckland woman in power scandal is a devastating indictment of New Zealand today

The Alliance Party says the death of an Auckland woman yesterday after her oxygen machine failed when electricity was cut off to her home is a indictment of a society where money comes before people.

Alliance Party President Victor Billot says the death of the woman was all the more preventable as it appears at least some electricity staff were informed of her personal situation.

“This is a terrible personal tragedy, but at its root is a political cause – this is a direct result of the free market system in electricity where company profits now overrule basic civilized behaviour.” Continue reading

Solid Energy spy debacle spotlights threat to democracy

The Alliance says the use of spies and private investigators on political groups by Solid Energy would end under full public and democratic control of electricity and other state owned assets.
The use of young people to infiltrate political groups by private investigators, who are linked to Solid Energy and other corporates, has been revealed by an investigative report in today’s Sunday Star Times. Continue reading

Inequality in New Zealand: 50% of New Zealanders own just 5% of the wealth

Wealth disparity persists in New Zealand, as in other societies, says the Department of Statistics in a new report. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Big surprise there.

The poorest 50% of the population make do on 5% of the income. The wealthiest 5% own 38% of the wealth.

With the way our economy is structured, the more you have, the more you get. If you are starting off from a low income working class background, the odds are stacked against you from day one. The concern is there is a mentality amongst many New Zealanders that greed and self-interest are the highest values – a corrosive and brutal ideology that is returning us to the “law of the jungle.” This attitude is both a product and a cause of the inequality that we see around us today. Continue reading