Energy-guzzling flatscreen plasma televisions - dubbed "the 4x4s of the living room" - will soon be banned in Britain as part of the battle against climate change - but a similar proposal in New Zealand has been given the thumbs-down by Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee.
The UK's Independent on Sunday newspaper reported British ministers expect to agree to Europe-wide minimum energy performance standards for televisions this year, in a move which should phase out the most inefficient TVs.
New Zealand already has minimum standards preventing the least efficient fridges, heat pumps, washing machines and dishwashers being sold here. The Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) has been looking at whether similar rules should apply for televisions since October 2007.
But Mr Brownlee yesterday told the Herald the Government did not favour banning energy-hungry TVs.
"Our view is the information about appliances should be given to consumers and consumers should then make their choice.
"Consumers should be given as much information as they possibly can about the energy efficiency of appliances ... but at the final point of purchase it's the consumer's decision."
The Government last month overturned Labour's plan to phase out old incandescent lightbulbs and replace them with more efficient ones. A plan to save energy by encouraging more efficient shower heads also bit the dust two months earlier under Labour Minister Shane Jones.
In England, the Labour government withdrew 100W incandescent lightbulbs just over a week ago as part of a drive to slow the rapid growth of electricity consumption in homes.
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said New Zealand risked becoming a dumping ground for "garbage" inefficient televisions from the rest of the world. The European Union and the state of California were moving to ban inefficient models, meaning manufacturers would offload less efficient televisions here - costing households money.
Mr Norman said energy efficiency standards already introduced into New Zealand had saved tens of millions of dollars in electricity bills over the past decade. Without them people often bought the cheapest model without thinking about the cost over the long term.
EECA estimates an inefficient 42-inch television operating for eight hours a day and otherwise left on standby costs around $145-$200 a year to run. An efficient 42-inch television would save on average between $25-$80 a year. The 25 per cent most efficient televisions in New Zealand are identified with an ENERGY STAR mark.