Judith Collins calls for Megan Woods' resignation after thousands lose power

A blame game is underway at Parliament after no concrete answers were given over why tens of thousands of households were plunged into darkness on Monday.

Transpower, which owns and operates New Zealand's national grid, said blackouts occurred after demand for electricity reached an all-time high and there wasn't enough generation in the system to maintain it.

Energy Minister Megan Woods has apologised for the outage and says she's been given assurances that more outages won't happen on Tuesday night.

"I am incredibly sorry that New Zealanders were in that situation," Woods says.

"New Zealanders have a right to expect that on a cold night that the power will stay on."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says it "isn't good enough" that people couldn't warm their homes on one of the coldest nights of the year, and National Party leader Judith Collins believes it is a "third world decision" that you don't expect in New Zealand.

So begins the Beehive blame game - target one is the power companies.

Woods wrote a tersely worded letter to them demanding to know why the lights went out. Genesis Energy, in particular, got a telling off from the top.

"This wasn't a matter of a physical deficit in our ability to generate, it was a result of a commercial decision," she says.

Megan Woods.
Megan Woods. Photo credit: Newshub.

Ardern says there was an ability to deal with Monday night's outage, but power companies made the decision not to bring that capacity on.

But Genesis fired back in the war of words and blamed Transpower for not telling them soon enough to increase generation.

"We made a loss yesterday as a result of this, so it wasn't a good situation for Genesis to be in, so no, we're not price gouging," says Genesis Energy CEO Marc England.

Woods had a lash at Transpower too.

"They were putting out to the distribution networks, to the lines companies, that 2 percent needed to come off. It seems like that was probably a double estimate of what did need to be shedded," she said.

But the common thread in this is it all leads back to the Government - Transpower is a state-owned enterprise and Genesis is majority-owned by the Government too.

Collins is calling for Woods' resignation over the power cuts.

"Number one, I would sack Megan Woods, she's hopeless," she says.

But Ardern has defiantly said she won't do this.

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