New Zealand [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] An updated course of action for New Zealand’s four-year-old National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NEECS) is expected to be finalized by March 2007, announced Trevor Mallard, Energy Minister of NZ, and Jeanette Fitzsimons, who is Government Spokesperson on Energy Efficiency and the NZ Green Party leader.“The world has changed in the last five years. In particular, we need to respond more effectively to the challenges and risks associated with energy security and climate change and environmental sustainability. If we want to take significant steps towards a truly sustainable energy system that fosters economic growth and promotes a healthy society, we need to develop a new strategy that delivers more,” said Mallard. “The benefits of improved energy choices are still there, waiting to be captured,” said Fitzsimons. “The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) will lead development of a new strategy that better enables the whole of New Zealand to realize those benefits. The new strategy will pursue energy efficiency and renewable energy more aggressively and will aim to put New Zealand on a faster course to a sustainable energy system,” she said. The new NEECS will form an integral part of the National Energy Strategy — for which terms of reference are currently being drafted. Together with climate change policy, these pieces of work will form a whole new government approach providing direction and leadership for the energy sector. “The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) will draw on input from stakeholders, international best practice, domestic success stories and lessons from the implementation of the first strategy to inform future policy direction,” Fitzsimons said. Plus, the New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) stated the NZ Government could still meet its renewable energy targets for 2012 if it allowed network companies to develop wind farms. The NZWEA believed that any network company investing in a wind farm should have full governance control, claimed the release. In 2004 the wind industry was the fastest growing energy sector in New Zealand with growth of more than 300 percent: 170 megawatts (MW) is now installed and operating, 90 MW is currently under construction, more than 400 MW of new capacity has been consented in the last 12 months and just over 600 MW is currently in the resource consent process. The NZWEA supported the work carried out by the EECA, said the release, but noted that they were restricted from achieving a number of targets by current Government polices. The NZWEA has more than 60 members including some of New Zealand’s largest electricity generators and lines companies.