Transpower must listen to its boss and not appeal

Wednesday 3 October 2012, 3:10PM
By Federated Farmers of New Zealand

After the second consecutive district plan success against Transpower’s ‘buffer zones’, this time in Waimate District, Federated Farmers is calling on Transpower to call off its expensive lawyers and instead read the writings of its own Chief Executive.

"I hate to think how much Transpower’s corporate lawyers are costing them because so far, they are zero for two against Federated Farmers," says Colin Hurst, Federated Farmers Waimate Districts branch chairperson.

"If you are a landowner and not a member of Federated Farmers, you seriously need to let the moths out of your wallet because this result sums up what we are all about.

“Following the result in Western Bay District, led by Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty, the Waimate District Council has agreed with Federated Farmers over Transpower.

“We said Transpower’s demand for buffer zones around its towers, equivalent to an 11-storey building lying on its side, was pretty much not needed.

“Everything is easily covered off by an advice note in the District Plan referring to the existing Code of Practice for Electrical Safety Distances.  For those who want to read it, it is NZECP34:2001 and it is fairly comprehensive.

“It seemed to us Transpower was trying to grab control over a massive amount of land via the district plan process.  Imagine the width of Eden Park’s playing surface and stretch that the length and breadth of New Zealand.

“Given the company doesn’t pay rental for much of its tower infrastructure, it is insulting to then make ratepayers pay the cost of being its watchdog.  More so when the Code of Practice for Electrical Safety Distances spells everything out in black and white

“That is why Transpower must take a deep breath.  They need to read what Patrick Strange, Transpower’s Chief Executive, penned in Straight Furrow on 21 August.

“He said, “It is the responsibility of each council, not Transpower, to establish its own buffer corridor rules.  Our recommendation is…”

“Clearly, councils are saying the Code of Practice for Electrical Safety Distances is good enough for them and we agree.  If it is only a recommendation, why is Transpower sending in the expensive suits to appeal when they don’t get their own way?

“Come on Transpower and listen to your boss.  If you are recommending distances as your CEO clearly wrote, don’t force the cost of an appeal upon ratepayers. Otherwise, it is a government owned company taking on taxpayers and that does not sit right,” Mr Hurst concluded.