Tiki Taane and Greenpeace serenade Electricity Authority with 45,000 suns to protest “solar tax”

Press release - October 10, 2016
New Zealand musician Tiki Taane has just taken 45,000 paper suns to New Zealand’s electricity watchdog, each with the name of someone who signed a petition demanding the authority support solar energy and prohibit electricity providers from penalising solar users.

Taane was showered in the tens of thousands of suns in the reception of the Electricity Authority in Wellington, while serenading the Authority with his song, Shine Your Love, which he wrote especially for the occasion.

Taane’s song and the unique delivery of the Greenpeace New Zealand petition will also be made into a music video to be released on the Greenpeace YouTube channel.

In July, the Electricity Authority ruled that a decision by Hawke’s Bay lines company, Unison, to charge its solar customers extra, was not in breach of any rules, prompting widespread outrage and concern that other lines companies will follow suit.

Greenpeace called the targeted and compulsory levy a “solar tax” designed to discourage solar adoption, and launched a petition, which received almost 45,000 signatures in just over a month.

Musician Taane was one of the first to put his name to the petition.

“We should be celebrating the fact that so many Kiwis are behind solar. Solar is a vital part of the solution to dangerous climate change. Sunshine is free, it’s clean and it’s everywhere,” he says.

“I installed solar on my home because I wanted to do my bit for the planet and my family. It’s been a really rewarding process and feels empowering to be able to live sustainably.”

Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Kate Simcock, says solar in New Zealand is being threatened by big energy companies.

“Solar power is one the fastest growing energy sources in the world. It gives families and communities the power to manage their own electricity, it displaces dirty fuels like coal, and it can cut monthly power bills substantially,” she says.

“As the watchdog of New Zealand’s power, the Electricity Authority must step up to the plate and protect people’s freedom of choice to use clean energy like solar. This includes stopping power providers from penalising solar users by introducing ridiculous policies like a tax on sunshine.

“The Government needs to get real about our changing climate. We simply can’t keep hoping for the best while continuing to drill, frack and burn coal.  We need tangible solutions, including urgently shutting down Huntly Power Station and supporting rapid uptake of clean energy like solar.”

Simcock says Greenpeace plans to do “another cheeky” celebration when the petition hits 100,000 signatures. 

Musician Tiki Taane takes over 45,000 paper suns to New Zealand's electricity watchdog, the Electricity Authority, each with the name of someone who signed a petition demanding the authority support solar energy and prohibit electricity providers from penalising solar users. Photo by Greenpeace/Marty Melville

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