23 Nov 2010

Lignite report delayed over Pike River concerns

11:17 am on 23 November 2010

The release of a report on the use of lignite has been postponed because of concern it would be misinterpreted as a comment on mining at Pike River Coal on the West Coast.

The last-minute decision was made after questions about the timing of the report were raised by Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Several companies, including state-owned Solid Energy, are proposing to mine Southland's lignite reserves but there have been concerns about the effect on greenhouse gas emissions.

The report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright was due to be released at midday on Tuesday.

But copies of the report were quickly gathered from chairs by Dr Wright's staff as energy sector representatives and media arrived at her office for a briefing.

A spokesperson for Mr Brownlee says the minister phoned Dr Wright on Tuesday morning and suggested the release of the report could be viewed as insensitive.