As a Contact Energy customer I am angry that this company has announced it will be putting up South Island power prices by 11 percent come November 1.

This is the very same company that recently doubled its director's fees. Two weeks ago it announced it was going to double the pool of director's fees from $770,000 to $1.5 million.

The top paid non-executive director is already on a package equivalent to $1000 a day.

Shareholders Association chairman Bruce Sheppard rightly criticised the increase as "obscene".

Contact made a profit of $237 million for the last financial year.

The Labour Government have slammed the increase but, once again, Labour talks tough but does nothing.

Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel and Energy Minister David Parker said they would raise the issue with Cabinet and seek a 'broad inquiry'.

An inquiry? What about?

"... we will be asking Cabinet on Monday to consider whether a broader inquiry is needed into whether these price increases are evidence of a lack of competition and market power being used to ratchet up prices," said Parker and Dalziel in a media statement

Eh? It's plainly obvious that there is a lack of competition in the electricity market. It's been like this for years and for years the Labour Government has sat on its hands and done nothing. But the dynamic duo want a 'broad inquiry' to tell them what we already know. Great.

...what more can you expect from someone like Lianne Dalziel, possibly the worst Minister of Commerce ever.

And - guess what - by the time this 'broad inquiry' has occurred Labour won't be the government anymore! What's the bet the cabinet will decide not to make any decision on a 'broad inquiry' until after the election. Labour will be out of office and Parker and Dalziel will be looking for some financially lucrative government appointed boards to sit on.

Pathetic. But what more can you expect from someone like Lianne Dalziel, possibly the worst Minister of Commerce ever, who has watched the finance sector collapse and only recently decided that it might be a good idea to do something - like have an inquiry. I'm sure all the people who have lost money to corporate rogues like Bridgecorp won't be lining up to thank Dalziel.

The free market approach in the electricity industry (and everywhere else) has not worked but nether Parker or Dalziel or prepared to admit this. It's either ideological obstinacy or stupidity or both.

The only answer is to bring electricity generation and supply under public ownership and community control. That way, ordinary people - presently been screwed by fat cat corporate's like Contact - can get affordable power.


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