Labour, Greens announce plans to ‘buy all the power’, see what happens

Russel Norman and David Shearer struggle to figure out what they’ll do once they own all the nation’s electricity.

Russel Norman and David Shearer struggle to figure out what they’ll do once they own all the nation’s electricity.

At a joint press conference held yesterday afternoon, the Labour and Green parties announced that – if and when they take the reins of government – they would seek to lower electricity prices by “buying up all the power,” and then just waiting to see what would happen next.

“Electricity prices have been too high for too long,” said Green co-leader Russel Norman during his pre-prepared remarks. “Power companies have too much electricity, and average kiwis don’t have enough.”

“The solution we propose for this,” said Labour leader David Shearer, “is to approach power producers with a fair offer to buy all their power; every last electricity they have. Then they won’t have it anymore, and we will.”

Asked what they would do once they had acquired all the electricity, Shearer said that they hadn’t decided.

“We’re not completely sure yet,” he said. “It’s complicated. We’re just going to have to see what it does. We haven’t owned that much electricity before, so it’ll all be a bit overwhelming. I’m sure there’s something you can do with all the electricity, though.”

“This is the big kahuna,” he added.

Asked what he meant by that, Shearer replied “I don’t know. It was just something I wrote down.”

Russel Norman was able to offer a few more suggestions about what the two parties could do with the power.

“I think there are all sorts of things we could do with it, really,” he said. “I mean, obviously, we could sell it for less than the producer is selling it for. So, maybe, ten dollars. That would make it cheaper.”

He added that the government could always put it all into giant lampposts that would light up several streets at a time.

“But that’s probably not a good idea,” he said.

“Oh!” said Shearer suddenly. “We could… no. Actually, no.”

“How will you afford all this power?” asked One News political editor Corin Dann. “It seems like a lot of power to buy.”

Shearer said that, as he understood it, the government had “a lot of money,” and if it needed to, it had the ability to “get more.”

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce was unimpressed by the Labour-Green power plan, saying that it was a “crazy” solution to a non-existent problem. While he acknowledged that power prices had continued to rise under the National Government, he said that electricity was more expensive in New Zealand than in other countries because it was “better electricity.”

“And in any case, there’s no way they can afford that,” he said. “How are they going to ship all that electricity? How much will that cost? They’ll bankrupt the government buying all the power, they won’t be able to harness the infrastructure to distribute that power, and then no one will have electricity.”

Russel Norman was asked about those remarks this morning.

“Oh, I try not to worry about what Steven Joyce says,” he said. “He’s shown himself to be horribly uninformed. No electricity hasn’t been our policy for years now.”