Key Points:

A proposal to phase out incandescent lightbulbs is extremely unlikely to go ahead under the new National Government.

Prime Minister John Key stood by National's policy in opposition against 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.

"We have real concerns about telling people that they have to move to energy efficient light bulbs by decree," he said.

"We want to encourage people to do that, we think there may be benefits for them to do it, but it should be a choice they make as consumers."

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee last week said he had asked Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority officials to look into a proposed phase out of incandescent lightbulbs.

Yesterday he said officials' work was continuing and an announcement would be made "in due course".

"It's our policy to get rid of it and we are working towards that."

Labour Party climate change spokesman Charles Chauvel last week said the standard was a sensible policy developed with the Australians.

"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 per cent 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 per cent more energy efficient.

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

- NZPA