Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Key Labor Backers Back Nuclear Power

I have posted earlier on the move by Chairman Rudd to re-open uranium mining in Australia by the Labor Government after decades of opposition.

This has begun to get very interesting.

Last week while in Australia I read the front page of The Australian with some bemusement - it carried pleas to begin formal investment in investigating nuclear power as an option for Australia. The astonishing thing... The pleas were from the head of the strongest blue-collar trade union and the former head of a Labour NSW Government.

The Headline.

The head of Australia's biggest blue-collar union, Paul Howes, and former NSW Labor premier Bob Carr have called for Australia and the Rudd Government to purge its prejudices and embrace a nuclear power industry

The source of alarm for Mr Howes is the case mounted for years by former prime minister John Howard: that imposing onerous carbon limits in Australia threatens to send its heavy industry offshore at the cost of jobs for no environmental gain.

This is exactly the same issue for New Zealand.

This year's electricity shortage - broadly brought about because the NZ Labour Government has banned new large scale base load electricity generation - has meant industry has stopped production in key export areas. Witness the shutdowns at PanPac and Tiwai. On the basis their products were exported and had global demand (aluminium and pulp and paper for example) NZ has exported wealth creation and jobs offshore FOR NO GAIN.

The longer the lunacy around the ETS and the moratorium on new thermal power continues New Zealand will track backwards.

Interestingly the Australian labour movement is onto the threat and advocating far reaching change. We need that courage and leadership in New Zealand.

It would be most amusing to see a Rudd Cabinet meeting with what is rapidly becoming a schism between the labour left and the environmental greens within the Labor party- they have mutually exclusive positions.

Another headache for Chairman Rudd.

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