Greens call out Govt over 'ridiculous' power plant

Greens' energy and resources spokesperson Gareth Hughes (Newshub. / file)
Greens' energy and resources spokesperson Gareth Hughes (Newshub. / file)

A proposed power plant to be built in south Waikato is being slammed by the Green Party, which says the Government should 'call in' the application so it can be considered on a national level.

The Greens' energy and resources spokesperson Gareth Hughes said the large gas-fired power plant, proposed by Nova Energy, would severely impact our commitments to the Paris Agreement.

"New Zealand has committed to reducing our climate pollution under the Paris Climate Agreement, so it would be ridiculous to allow big new sources of climate pollution to be built.

"It would be a massive failure of policy and leadership to allow a new power plant that could emit an estimated 425,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution a year and dismiss its impacts on the climate."

It's the last day for Environment Minister Nick Smith to consider whether or not to call in the proposal as a matter of national significance.

Mr Hughes said more than 3000 people have signed a petition asking Dr Smith to "show leadership" in the situation, pointing to similar projects called in under the Resource Management Act.

A similar plant built in Taranaki was called in under the RMA in 1993.

"It's common for power plants to be called in because of their national significance, and Nova's proposed large 360-megawatt new gas-fired power plant should be too."

But the RMA is wrong for this situation, Dr Smith says.

He told Fairfax Media the RMA excludes carbon dioxide emissions because it's instead covered in the Climate Change Act.

"The Greens are being a bit mischievous in suggesting that the Nova Energy gas turbine station proposal is of any major significance over the RMA."

The Greens say the power station's size alone makes it nationally significant.

"Whether you're personally for or against this power station, its size makes it so significant that it must be treated as a matter of national interest," Mr Hughes said.