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Associate Minister of Energy New Zealand Labour Govt 2001-2004


Dear Mr Atack

Thank you for your email of 8 September sent to the Prime Minister.
She has asked me to reply to your email as the subject matter that you cover falls directly within the energy portfolio.

I am aware that you have corresponded many times with the Prime Minister, and also with my colleague the Minister of Energy, on this subject.
I have read the replies they have sent you in which they have tried to make it clear that we all agree with your view that oil is a non-renewable resource that will one day run out? The point of contention is of course when that one-day will be.

The article you sent with your email is interesting but certainly represents the most pessimistic view in relation to when that one-day will be. There is a myriad of “highly informed” views on this with “experts” holding different opinions and I think it is unlikely that they will ever all agree.

The truth probably lies somewhere between the views of the “experts” on either side of the debate but it is the case that many international organisations do not share your views. The authoritative International Energy Agency, of which New Zealand is a member, while remaining cautious, still predicts enough oil to meet demand to 2030.

Please be assured that the information you have been given before on New Zealand’s move to renewable energy sources, such as wind and biomass, still hold true. We are ensuring that they will play an appropriate part in our energy future by implementing strategies that will assist us to a more sustainable environmentally friendly future.

The Government is aware of the oil situation, and determined to ensure New Zealand moves over time to a future where we are not overly dependent on oil. The one thing I can tell you for certain is that New Zealand takes the depletion of oil reserves seriously.

As a general observation I have to say that the material you are continually providing to Ministers on various forms of energy is a continuing the. I am not at all sure that further such correspondence will be helpful to yourself or Ministers unless there are genuinely some new issues or points to be made.

I understand from Caroline Parlane in the Ministry of Economic Development that you are in regular communication with her and have sent her a wealth of information? Articles, CDs and tapes on the issue of oil supplies. She has undertaken to let me know if she finds anything in that information of which I am not currently aware or of which she thinks I should be informed.

Yours sincerely
Hon Harry Duynhoven
Associate Minister of Energy