Seven out of ten Kiwis want renewables over fossil fuels
The poll, commissioned by WWF-New Zealand, finds the majority of New Zealanders (73%) disagree with priorities in the government’s Energy Strategy – accidentally published online in its final draft stages earlier this month – instead wanting to prioritize increased development of renewable energy such as wind, geothermal and biofuels.
WWF-New Zealand Climate Change campaigner Lee Barry commented: “The research shows that the majority of people want the Government to prioritise development of safe, clean energy future for New Zealand. As the Deepwater Horizon oil spill shows us, drilling for oil in deep water is dangerous - it risks loss of human life and oil spills that have the potential to devastate natural habitats.
“We know that oil exploration is becoming more expensive, more dangerous and when burnt, contributes to climate change. Digging and drilling for more coal, oil and gas is applying a 19th century strategy to 21st century challenges. This survey shows that seven in ten Kiwis instead want a safe, clean energy future,” she said.
After the Government’s Energy Strategy was released by the Coal Action Network Aotearoa on 3 April, WWF-New Zealand commissioned the poll to assess New Zealanders’ views of the proposed emphasis on expanding exploration for fossil fuels. The strategy has yet to be released officially by the Government, and WWF is urging the Acting Minister of Energy and Resources to respond to New Zealanders’ views and alter the direction of its energy strategy towards greater investment in renewables.
“Real opportunities exist to build on New Zealand's significant renewable energy potential including wind, geothermal and home-grown biofuels, and the research indicates the majority of Kiwis want the Government to develop those opportunities.” said Ms Barry.
She said the Energy Strategy was an opportunity to move New Zealand towards a low-carbon economy, as the cost of oil rises: “The question the Government has to answer is; should we start investing now in developing cleaner alternatives so that we wreak less havoc on the natural world and we are prepared for the future? The answer from Kiwis as shown by this survey is a resounding “yes”,” concluded Ms. Barry.
Of over 1,000 New Zealanders surveyed, 18% said the government’s energy strategy should prioritise more exploration and mining for fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas to sell offshore, while 73% said it should prioritise increased development of renewable energy to provide electricity and transport fuel in New Zealand.
• The New Zealand Energy Strategy and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy was published online by CANA on April 3 at: http://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/nz-energy-strategy-nzeecs-v12-21-march-11-1.pdf. The doucment has not been officially released by the Ministry for Economic Development since public consultation closed in September 2010.
• The Colmar Brunton poll question and results were as follows:
In the proposed Energy Strategy the NZ Government plans to expand exploring & mining for fossil fuels like oil, coal & gas. There is less emphasis on the development of renewable energy in New Zealand. Which of these do you think the Energy Strategy should prioritise?
o More exploration and mining for fossil fuels, such as oil, coal, and gas, to sell off-shore (18%)
o Increased development of renewable energy, such as wind, and geothermal for electricity and wood waste to turn into fuel for cars and other vehicles, to provide electricity and transport fuel in New Zealand (73%)
o Not sure(9%)
• The Colmar Brunton poll was conducted using an online omnibus, with the methodological details as follows:
o 1,008 online interviews with New Zealander’s aged 18 and over
o Results for a sample size of 1,008 are normally subject to a maximum margin of error of +/- 3.1%.
o Interviewing was conducted from 6 to 13 April, 2011
o Please note the data is post-weighted to reflect New Zealand population statistics in terms of gender, age and region.