While people continue to struggle with the rising cost of living, the Labour Government has launched a campaign supposedly designed to educate folk on how they can reduce the size of their power bills. But rather than focusing on how people can save a few cents on power maybe the better solution is to nationalise the power companies and run them in the interest of the public. So why is the Green Party not proposing that the power companies should be taken into public ownership?

LUCKILY FOR all of us struggling with extortionate winter power bills, the Government has come through with some top tips on how we can all save, save, save!  If the steeply rising cost of living is depressing you a tad, take heart - the Government is launching a new campaign on how you can save up to $500 - yes, up to $500 a year on power. Which works out about a $1.35 a day. Even that tiny figure will be irrelevant when the prolonged freezingly cold weather inevitably hits us. 

But, nevertheless, Aunty Megan Woods, the Energy Minister, thinks she has come to the rescue with fantastic money-saving tips like switching off the lights when the room is empty and washing the laundry in cold water. And not standing in the shower for more than  five minutes.

Most people are aware of such money-saving 'strategies' and Woods admits that they are not exactly new. She claims though 'small steps can add up to savings that make a real difference'. That's right - up to $1.35 a day. Maybe. 

The campaign, overseen by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, will cost almost three million dollars.

The Labour Government's suggestion that some folk maybe are not doing enough to save power will not be viewed kindly by those facing extortionate power bills. In March 1024 households were surveyed about power prices by the Consumer Advocacy Council.  Forty-two percent of the households surveyed said they found it harder to pay electricity bills than a year ago. Seven percent said they were in danger of being disconnected for non-payment of bills or had already been disconnected.

What will really rub people the wrong way is that the Government is emphasising that people initiate a savings regime at a time when the power companies are making record profits.

In February Genesis Energy recorded a $143 million half yearly profit.

Meridian Energy reported a net profit after tax of $201 million for the six months ended 31 December 2022, $56 million (39%) higher than the same period last year.

In 2022 energy companies Meridian, Mercury and Genesis showed a combined increase in net profit of $1.3 billion.

The Green Party's reply to this absurd and patronising campaign is to, again, call for a wealth tax. This seems to have become its universal 'fix' for everything. But such is its continuing loyalty to the 'free market' it is unlikely that the Green Party is prepared to go any further than this - and risk upsetting its cosy relationship with the Labour Party.

In 2021 economist Brian Easton observed that 'trying to organise the electricity system around a competition model based on financial markets does not make sense.'

The UK Green Party says that the only way to reduce power bills in Britain is to permanently nationalise the power companies. 

Says Green co-leader Carla Denyer : “By bringing the big five energy retail companies into public ownership, setting the price of energy at an affordable rate and absorbing the global price rises, the government could make sure everybody can afford to get through this cost of living crisis. At the same time, it will mean this public service will be able to be run in the public interest, instead of in the interest of profit-making.”

The nationalisation of the power companies was also part of the economic program proposed by Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party.

In the United States, under the Green New Deal proposed by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the energy sector would be subject to 'appropriate public ownership'.

Says AOC: 'Under public ownership not only can we provide affordable power but fight climate change without being impeded by commercial profit-making imperatives.'

But the Green Party, under the conservative leadership of Marama Davidson and James Shaw, has failed to support and promote a Green New Deal for New Zealand. This is in despite of it signing up to the Global Alliance for a Green New Deal in 2021.  

The Alliance says that it would 'redesign economies so that never again can so much be hoarded by so few' and that it 'will channel the investment needed to transform our homes and buildings, industry, energy, manufacturing, land, agriculture, and the systems of care that support us all to meet the challenges of the crisis in climate and nature'.

The declaration of the Alliance stands in opposition to the neoliberal and market-led policies of our Labour Government and which the Green Party has signed up for and continues to defend.


  1. The government seems to see its job as maintaining the status quo on behalf of the PM class by finding ever more blame-shifting nanny-state educational programmes for the working class.

    As with all their puerile manipulations this is not designed to actually address the needs of the working class. We are the people Labour wilfully threw under the bus decades ago. It is make-work for their bloated 'consultants'. Labour hopes they will be rewarded at the election for yet another dog whistle about our problems being caused by stupidity and laziness and not by inadequate resources.

    We've got to protest vote this time to send a clear message to Labour - and that's just one step.

  2. I've got something else related to the same themed article.

    The government of the insufferably smug professional-managerial-class has an important policy for the working class, something new to wag their fingers at us over. Vaping MUST be regulated. It shouldn't be allowed. Our 'righteously reformed' and never-smoker overlords don't like it. It offends them just as much as their smellier-sourced smug and superior buzz did.

    But with the dying out of cigarettes, the PMC has all-but lost not just that buzz but the 'kind' rationale about being concerned for our health. It wasn't just self-righteous disapproval - oh no no no, they just *cared* (trademark) so much.

    But wait, they've got something. Some kids are vaping. "Won't someone think about the children"? Stop adults from vaping right now! (Alcohol is com-pletely different, of course it is).

    Eventually, the government will be able to bestow the gift of really up-close finger-wagging. Hooray, an election policy, an actual policy. Making vaping prescription only. Let the peasants go cap in hand to beg a doctor. Perfect - one of their own class will get to tut-tut in person.

    Can these people see themselves?


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