INDEPENDENT NEWS

Quick-fire round of consultation just a token gesture

Published: Tue 18 Oct 2016 03:27 PM
Quick-fire round of consultation just a token gesture – 18 October 2016
“We welcome the Electricity Authority’s decision to further consult on proposed changes to the way New Zealanders pay for their power, but the fine print suggests this may be just a token gesture to quieten down growing opposition,” Kim Campbell, spokesperson for a group of organisations that includes the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Counties Power, the Counties Power Consumer Trust, EA Networks, EMA Northern, Entrust, Northpower, Norske Skog and Vector.
“The proposals remain fundamentally flawed, the timeframes for submitters are far too short, and there is no actual commitment from the EA to cross submissions or a hearing.
“Tinkering around the edges of this issue is not going to fix anything. We need robust, in-depth consultation, expert opinion and due process. Not another quick fire round of meetings and rushed submissions over the Christmas break.
“If a car engine blows up – a new paint job is not going to get it going again.
“The same goes for the Electricity Authority’s proposed changes to the Transmission Pricing Model.
“Even after this second round of very narrow engagement is completed, the proposals will remain fundamentally flawed.
They will continue to have a devastating impact on some of our most vulnerable communities.
Not only will some face a big new increase in their power bills, but others will face the possibility of losing their jobs if their employers cannot afford to stay operating.
“We hope the Electricity Authority rethinks its next move, and instead decides to consult with industry, businesses, farmers and communities in good faith.
It should extend the time frames for submissions, be open to feedback on all aspects of the proposals and commit to making cross submissions and hearings part of the process.
“Until we see proof of the EA taking the future of New Zealand’s electricity prices seriously, we will continue to view the announcement as nothing more than a token gesture.
We will continue to call for the Government to press pause on the current process being undertaken by the Electricity Authority until an independent expert can undertake a review,” Mr Campbell said today.
ends

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