Energy giants treating households like cash machines

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party is calling on the Government to step in as New Zealand’s four energy giants continue to pay outrageous dividends to shareholders while thousands of people struggle to keep warm.

A new report out today by NZCTU, 350 Aotearoa and First Union shows that the big four big electricity companies continue to funnel billions of dollars into the pockets of shareholders instead of investing in clean, affordable energy.

“We can have lower household bills, and an energy system that works for our climate and our communities, if only the Government had the guts to require the energy giants to reinvest more of their profit into clean, local energy generation,” says the Green Party’s energy spokesperson, Scott Willis.

“Today, I am calling on the government to break the iron grip of the four big electricity companies, create a fair and transparent electricity market, and invest in community renewable energy. This is the best path towards an energy future that works for everyone.

“The energy system created by successive governments, most notably by the previous National Government, is broken. Billions of dollars are being funnelled straight into the padded pockets of wealthy shareholders, thousands of people are forced to choose between heating and eating. Energy companies need to work for us, not simply serve their shareholders.

“The eye-watering dividends being paid out to shareholders are an insult to the thousands of people across Aotearoa who struggle to keep their home warm. Most of us would be appalled if we knew so much of the money we are spending just to keep warm is benefiting wealthy shareholders. This is a political choice.

“Affordable energy is a public good that the four energy giants are betraying. There is a clear answer staring us in the face: warm homes powered by cleaner, cheaper, smarter electricity, generated on our rooftops and in our communities. The Green Party campaigned on Clean Power Payment which is exactly the type of solution people need.

“Thousands of people have signed a petition that I was proud to table in Parliament this week calling on the government to massively increase support for community renewable energy. The report released today shows exactly why this is so important,” says Scott Willis.

/Public Release. View in full here.