2009-03-26

Fast-tracking electricity projects will railroad farmers

“The Government’s draft policy statement on electricity governance opens the door for landowners to be railroaded in the haste to fast-track major electricity projects,” says Federated Farmers President Don Nicolson.

“The policy proposes that ‘minor investments’, with a price tag of less than $20 million, be fast-tracked through a streamlined process. The proposed criteria seems to be vague but appears to significantly reduce the Electricity Commission’s oversight.

“In no way do we view $20 million as being a ‘minor investment’. Right now there are several projects around the country with major impacts on farmers that have been submitted to the Electricity Commission below the proposed $20 million threshold.

“Projects that require new lines or which cause “injurious effect,” may well come in at under $20 million. Electricity projects represent a major imposition on farmers and farm management in terms of access, disruption to operations, liability and compensation,” continued Mr Nicolson.

“Furthermore, large projects could conceivably be split into smaller $20 million bite-size pieces. The cost of some supposedly ‘small’ projects could be underestimated and they would escape oversight. Federated Farmers believes both scenarios could become loopholes and need to be closed.

“Most importantly, we are concerned a streamlined approval process may signal to Transpower that it no longer has to discuss suitable easement agreements with farmers or provide appropriate compensation.

“Federated Farmers has worked hard to arrive at a suitable easement agreement with Transpower on behalf of members and there is goodwill. Simply put, this work needs to continue and reduced oversight by the Electricity Commission will not help,” concluded Mr Nicolson.

2 comments:

  1. Federated Farmers versus Employers and Manufacturers Association. I wonder which one would win the grudge match (and whether tickets would be available)?

    The electricity projects issue is an opportunity to see just how "grass roots" the government really is.

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  2. I recall during the 90's some idiot in the last National Government stating proudly NZ would end up being a *Service* economy basically we were all meant to be turned into call centre operators or running around after tourists. Grass Roots they're not more Beehive Building foundations stuck in the concrete.

    Fed Farmers I think are really out now to say No you don't but how much the government will listen...as you said basically the prove will be in the pudding.

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