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More efficient use of energy by primary sector businesses is great news for the economy and the environment, Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.
The Energy Use Survey: Primary Sector, released today by Statistics New Zealand, shows that the primary sector decreased both total energy use and fossil fuel use by 1% over that period. Coupled with GDP data, this means the primary sector has improved its energy efficiency by over 7% in the three years to 2011, using 7.2% less energy for every dollar of GDP output.
"Primary sector businesses are to be congratulated for proving that energy efficiencies can save both money and the environment without hurting their bottom line," said Mr Hughes.
"This shows that being more careful with resources isn't a cost, it's a gain. Businesses can reduce their costs as well as their impact on the environment, and improve their profitability at the same time.
"National says that we must trade-off our environment for the economy. But this survey illustrates that protecting the environment and enhancing the economy aren't contradictory goals; they go hand-in-hand," said Mr Hughes.
In the survey, 65% of primary sector businesses said that reducing energy costs was a high or medium priority.
"Primary sector businesses identified transport as the biggest area where further energy savings could be found," said Mr Hughes.
"This highlights the need for government policy that supports energy efficient transport by rail and sea, rather than wasting billions on uneconomic motorways.
"Investing in energy efficiency and reducing oil dependence is a smarter strategy than the National Government's focus on risky deep sea oil drilling and fracking.
"The Greens would re-direct investment into sustainable transport and other energy efficiency measures, which would reduce costs for businesses and reduce pollution," said Mr Hughes.