Lightbulb ban switched off?

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee has asked officials to look into a proposed phase out of incandescent lightbulbs.

In Opposition Mr Brownlee was a vocal opponent of the Labour government’s plan to implement a new standard for lightbulbs which would see old incandescent lightbulbs phased out by the end of next year.

A newspaper today reported a National staffer saying the phase out would not go ahead but Mr Brownlee would not confirm that.

Mr Brownlee said officials at the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority were doing some work on the issue.

“We’ll be making an announcement about that in due course,” Mr Brownlee said.

Labour Party climate change spokesman Charles Chauvel hoped National would go ahead and adopt the new standard.

“We think the existing policy is pretty sensible,” he said.

“It’s not even as drastic as what the Australians’ position is and, if we are going to take our obligations seriously, we do have to do work in this area so we’d be pretty disappointed if there was a retreat from the policy.”

Australia plans to ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs from next year when Britain will start phasing them out.

China, which makes 70 percent of the world’s lightbulbs, recently agreed to phase out incandescent bulbs.

The minimum efficiency performance standard for lightbulbs was developed with Australia.

Under the standard people can use halogen bulbs, which look like incandescent bulbs, or compact fluorescents.

The new bulbs are more expensive but are about 30 percent more energy efficient.

There has been argument over whether the new bulbs were not as good to ready by or were more flammable.

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