If you want to find a prime example of the stupidity of the Government owning commercial enterprises, look no further than the Bluff Aluminium Smelter.
Only government could encourage a company to build an operation that gobbles up 15% of a country’s electricity generation, and have it located thousands of kilometers and a large ocean away from the source of its raw materials. Then supply electricity to that operation at rates far cheaper than any company or homeowner in New Zealand enjoys.
Now Rio Tinto, the company that owns the smelter, is looking at cutbacks. One can only hope those cuts include the mothballing of the white elephant in Bluff, which the Government is effectively subsidising. It makes no sense for ordinary Kiwis to be paying outrageous power bills when a good 1/6th of generation is tied up in bauxite electrolysis, and freeing up those resources could help reduce costs.
Of course, if we didn’t have the job and growth killing Resource Management Act, which makes new generation capacity built by private interests almost impossible, this would be far less of an issue. But as it remains, people died to construct the Manapouri dam, and using it for crony capitalist purposes while pensioners struggle to pay their power bills is pissing on a whole bunch of graves.
While we are at it, can we get rid of this Nuclear Free nonsense, so we can build stations with the safest, cleanest and most environmentally friendly method of generation known to man?