Published: Monday 29 March 2021

Kia ora koutou

The evidence is before us. Recently released data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) shows that New Zealand imported more coal in 2020, than it did in 2017 and 2018 combined. In fact, the 1.1 million tonnes of coal imported last year, was the highest amount received in Aotearoa in the last 15 years. Why? Because there was and continues to be, a shortage of natural gas to meet the country’s electricity and energy requirements. This gap is being filled by imported coal. Burning coal increases carbon emissions far more than burning natural gas does.

Moving to a low emissions economy is a policy we must wholeheartedly support for the welfare of our planet. However, we all need to face the reality of requiring gas for several decades still. The government needs to heed the advice of its own experts when it comes to ending exploration of this low-emitting transition fuel. In a tearing hurry to be crowned as leaders addressing climate change, have we created a rod for our own backs?  Investment in hydrogen, wind, solar, hydro and other forms of renewable energy must continue, but the shortfall in supply, under current circumstances will need a reliable energy source like natural gas.

On the morning of 23 March 2021, a cool, still and dry day, New Zealand’s wind capacity was running at less than 1 per cent of capacity according to Transpower figures. Coal and diesel were running relatively hard because gas generation was constrained. The powers that be need to recognise that Aotearoa should be looking at building and stocking its own gas supply, rather than looking at ridiculously high costs of importing LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and leaving a huge carbon footprint with its manufacture and logistics process.

The Taranaki economy is suffering from the flight of skilled human capital, a massive reduction in investment and job losses in the energy-related industry. We want the government to work with us and review the importance of natural gas for the benefit of Aotearoa.

Chamber Hub

After the successful establishment of Chamber Hub in Bell Block with the assistance of MSD and support from WITT, Tasman Toyota and Our Cloud, we are looking to establish Chamber Hub South in Hawera. The Chamber will work with South Taranaki District Council under the Mayors’ Task Force for Jobs programme. The aim will be to provide jobs to unemployed youth under the age of 25 from South Taranaki. Chamber Hub South is expected to be operational by the end of this week.

March Highlights
  • Unfortunately, we were unable to hold our monthly Business Connections due to being in Covid alert level 3. The Taranaki Cathedral will now be hosting in May.
  • Our first South Taranaki Tandem Group Network of Trades event for the year was hosted by JLE at their workshop in Hawera. JLE is a local company with an international reach in commercial and industrial contracting.
Upcoming Events
  • NPDC will host Business Connections tomorrow night from 5.15pm-7.00pm at the Council Chambers. Come and talk with Councillors and have your say on where you think they should invest your dollars
  • Tandem Group Network of Trades will be hosted by Location Homes at their new premises in Beach Street, Fitzroy on Tuesday 13 April from 5.15pm-7.00pm
  • The Chamber is presenting a Wellbeing Conference at the Devon Hotel on Thursday 29 April. We have some fabulous guest speakers and panellists and places are filling up fast. For more information and to register go to
  • WITT Top Shop is back for 2021! Nominations will open online and in-store on Thursday 9 April.
  • Social Energy: Facebook for Beginners – tomorrow – delivered by Zoom
  • The Freedom Workshop – Series starts this Wednesday Stratford
  • Social Energy: Attract More Sales and Leads on LinkedIn – Tuesday 13 April – delivered by Zoom
  • Microsoft Excel: Pivot Tables – Tuesday 4 May
  • Social Energy: Social Media and Facebook Content Planning – Thursday 6 May Stratford

To RSVP for any of our events, register for training, or for more information click here

Is your business a Chamber Member?

If not, you are missing out on huge opportunities to showcase your business, grow your networks, be represented via our advocacy and be part of a vibrant Chamber network!

Let’s do better business, together!

Ngā mihi

Arun Chaudhari