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Example of debate over DST dates
DST in New Zealand, savings estimates, farmers complain
In early August, 2001, the government considered an early start to daylight saving in response to an electricity crisis.
Historically, the start of daylight saving brings a drop in power consumption, something which must be attractive to the Energy Ministry as it searches for ways to cut electricity use by a national average of 10%.
The idea is being backed by Act Party energy spokesman Gerry Eckhoff, who has urged Energy Minister Pete Hodgson to introduce daylight saving on September 1 instead of October 7.
Hodgson says the proposal was also brought up at one of his weekly meetings with the power industry in Wellington.
While keeping an open mind on the idea, the minister says the pros and cons would have to be weighed up before he would act.
At the moment, his feeling was the situation was not bad enough to warrant moving daylight saving forward, especially given the problems it would cause in the farming industry.
He says the idea will be investigated in the next couple of weeks.
While not believing a change to the start date of daylight saving would instantly make the crisis disappear, Eckhoff says it would go some way to easing the situation.
He says figures given to him from the electricity industry show power usage went down 3.5% when daylight saving started last year while on average, the past three years saw a drop of around two percent.
"Even better, last year the first week of daylight saving saw peak evening consumption drop a whopping 7.5 percent, while the average reduction in the past three years has been just under 5.5 percent.
"I'm not saying bringing daylight saving forward five weeks would be a panacea for our urgent power problems ' but it would be a help ' and surely anything that would help should be seriously considered.
"I'm not saying bringing daylight saving forward five weeks would be a panacea for our urgent power problems, but it would be a help and surely anything that would help should be seriously considered," Eckhoff says.
Federated Farmers president Alistair Polson wants to see clear evidence that a significant reduction in power would be made if daylight saving is brought forward.
Polson says 50,000 dairy farmers and their employees would need to get up at 3am instead of 4am when daylight saving starts and they want solid proof that this would create significant power savings.
By the end of August, the government rejected the idea. Energy Minister Pete Hodgson said New Zealanders are doing pretty well with savings at the moment and there is still only a "looming" power crisis. He says moving daylight saving would be too inconvenient. Pete Hodgson says dairy farmers in particular, would find it too difficult. He says the situation however, could worsen if weather patterns do not improve. Pete Hodgson says cutting hot water would be the first thing the Government would do if the situation got too bad.
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