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Rio Tinto’s announcement that they will be conducting a review into the commercial sustainability of New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai Point is devastating for the community, National’s Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie says.

“The decision was made due to the increasing power costs that the smelter has been dealing with, which are among the highest paid by any smelter in the world.

“The Coalition Government’s electricity regulatory reform and short sighted oil and gas ban have driven up electricity prices and jeopardised the commercial sustainability of the smelter.

“Closure would be devastating for the local community as the smelter delivers 1000 jobs and supports many Southland families.

“National provided a 90 per cent rebate on the smelter’s Emissions Trading Scheme obligations because it is one of the only aluminium smelters in the world facing a carbon price. This Government has openly threatened to remove this rebate and threaten it’s economic viability.

“First Southlanders have endured the Government’s short sighted tertiary education reforms and now a valuable source of employment is struggling to continue as a result of their policies, it’s clear this Government is not looking out for Southlanders.”

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