Taranaki iwi welcome $27mil energy centre announcement

By Talisa Kupenga

Taranaki iwi have welcomed the government's $27mil pre-budget announcement to go towards building a clean energy centre in Taranaki.  The centre will help lead the country's transition to a low-carbon economy.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, "The centre will lead development of new clean energy technologies and work with businesses to position their innovation into commercial opportunities and new ventures, creating high-paying local jobs."

The centre expects to employ 45 people directly and to look at alternative energy including offshore wind, solar batteries, hydrogen and new forms of energy storage.

Ardern says, "The goal has to be [turning] those oil and gas jobs into jobs in hydrogen, jobs in wind energy and jobs in tidal.  So what we're trying to do here is try and commercialise some of those new opportunities and make sure we keep those high wage jobs."

Taranaki iwi chief executive Wharehoka Wano says, "We do expect some local jobs but I am yet to hear the Māori voice or perspectives in the initiative."

A further $20mil over four years will go towards research and development.

"Iwi strategies are strongly tied to looking after the environment so we expect to be across this," says Wano.

The announcement comes on the back of the Zero Carbon Bill, which aims for a net zero reduction of non-biological greenhouse gasses by 2050.