Seven out of ten Kiwis want Govt to prepare for peak oil | WWF New Zealand

Seven out of ten Kiwis want Govt to prepare for peak oil

Posted on
26 August 2010
Research from Colmar Brunton released today finds the Government’s draft energy strategy does not deliver the action that the majority of New Zealanders want for securing access to affordable alternatives to petrol and diesel in the future, as cheaper, easy-to-reach oil supplies decline around the world and oil prices rise.

“The research shows the Government’s draft energy strategy simply does not deliver what New Zealanders want,” said WWF Climate Change Campaigner, Peter Hardstaff.  “Seven out of ten believe it’s the Government’s task to plan ahead, and invest now in public transport and alternative fuels before the price of oil rises.”

He continued: “The Government acknowledges oil prices will increase in future, yet the strategy offers no protection against this. Its plan is to have no plan and hope for the best.  As the research shows, the majority of New Zealanders don’t believe that is good enough. 

“The right decisions now are important so we can continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and keep the cost of electricity and fuel manageable for New Zealanders and for our export earning producers,” he stated. “We are advocating for the Government to set out a clear strategy to transition away from New Zealand’s current heavy reliance on oil for moving people and goods.

“This is an opportunity for New Zealand to protect our environment and our economy.  For example, the strategy could seek to build on New Zealand’s significant potential for the development and use of home-grown biofuels and other new clean technologies.”

As part of Colmar Brunton’s omnibus poll in August, New Zealanders were informed that the Government expects oil prices to rise steadily in the future as cheaper, easy-to-reach oil supplies decline around the world, and that increased oil production in New Zealand will have no impact on this trend because the price is fixed to international oil prices.  They were asked if they thought the government should:

1) Invest now in developing public transport and alternatives to petrol and diesel for New Zealand

2) Or allow consumers and companies to find or develop their own alternative transport methods and fuels when they consider petrol and diesel prices have become too high

Seven out of ten - 72% - said the Government should invest now in alternatives, whilst 24% said the Government should let consumers or companies find their own alternative. The remaining 4% said they don't know.

WWF is urging New Zealanders to make a submission on the draft energy strategy. Submissions close 5pm 2 September. For more information on how to make a submission, see:


Notes to editors

•    The research was conducted using Colmar Brunton's telephone omnibus, a survey of 500 New Zealanders aged 18 and over.  Interviewing was conducted from 10 to 16 August, 2010.  The results are post-weighted to reflect New Zealand population statistics in terms of gender, age and region, and have a maximum margin of error of +/-4.4%. The research is available online at

•    For WWF-NZ’s press release criticising the draft energy strategy, see:

•    On oil prices, the Government’s draft energy strategy states:
“Even with local discovery or production of liquid fuels, the price to New Zealanders will remain in line with international oil prices. We anticipate that oil prices will remain volatile but on an upward path over the coming decades.” Source: p. 12 at:

•    On the development of alternatives to oil, the Government’s draft energy strategy states:
“The Government will not pick winners: ultimately uptake of new energy sources and technologies will depend on the decisions made by consumers as they respond to oil prices.”
Source: p.13

Media contacts: Jenny Riches WWF Marketing & Communications Manager, tel: 04 4714288 / 0274477158

About WWF
WWF-New Zealand is part of the WWF International Network, the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organisation. It has close to five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. This is achieved by working on the ground with local communities, and in partnership with government and industry, using the best possible science to advocate change and effective conservation policy.


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