In the House on Thursday I questioned Gerry Brownlee on his disastrous Biodiesel Grants Scheme. Only about $230,000 of the $36 million set aside for the scheme has been taken up. Five companies have signed up, but no new companies have joined since July last year. It’s a long way short of Brownlee’s promise to create 240 new jobs and ensure that biofuels play a big part in our ‘energy mix’ of the future.
Brownlee chose to blame the industry for the scheme’s lack of success, despite the fact that he was warned from the very beginning it wouldn’t work. One of his first actions as Minister was to remove the biofuel sales obligation that was put in place by the previous Labour government. That would have generated sufficient demand for the biofuels industry to develop sustainably without the need for government subsidies.
Brownlee’s approach as Minister appears to be to ignore all the evidence about what actually works, only listen to the advice of those he agrees with, and then find someone else to blame when things go wrong. But I guess that’s what we should expect from the guy who thinks New Zealand’s future prosperity depends on digging up our National Parks and exporting them.