Winston Peters homed in on power prices and the evils of
the ''market'' in a speech to mainly elderly people in South
The New Zealand First leader told a Grey Power public meeting
at the South Dunedin Community Hall that staying warm was a
necessity in Dunedin, but it was becoming increasingly
The electricity sector was a self-serving market imposing
massive costs and giving few benefits to New Zealanders.
The situation was made worse by the sell-down of government
holdings in electricity companies, as only a tiny percentage
of people could afford to buy what was once owned by all.
Power prices continually increased, while the people were
told this was the market at work.
More than 1000 power company managers received salaries of
more than $100,000 a year, while electricity chief executives
and board members were also well remunerated, he said.
Cheap power had once given New Zealand a great competitive
advantage over the rest of the world, he said.
The audience responded positively to Mr Peters' speech, but a
rare note of scepticism emerged when he labelled Forsyth Barr
Stadium the best such venue in Australasia.
''Are you going to pay for it?'' an audience member
Mr Peters said the stadium should pay for itself, at which
some audience members booed, prompting him to protest he was
not the local council.
After the speech, the Otago Daily Times asked Mr
Peters whether he regretted advocating the break-up of the
state-owned generator ECNZ in the late 1990s when he was
deputy prime minister.
At the time, 1998, Mr Peters claimed the move would see power
prices ''dramatically reduced'' for householders and
Mr Peters told the ODT yesterday he had been
''misled'' by then energy minister Max Bradford about price
regulation which was to have followed.