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Judicial Review of Pylons Decision to be filed

Media release November 22, 2007

Request for Judicial Review of Pylons Decision to be filed with High Court

New Era Energy today announced today that they will be proceeding to file a request for a Judicial Review of the Electricity Commission’s July, 2007 decision to approve Transpower’s proposed 70 metre high 400kV pylon line through the Waikato. The request for judicial review should be filed with the High Court before Christmas.

“We have reviewed a large number of documents obtained under the Official Information Act from the Electricity Commission on the processes and information they used to justify their decision to approve the proposal” says Bob McQueen, spokesperson for the New Era Energy group. “We are convinced that the Commission did not follow the law, they did not follow good processes in making their decisions, and the majority decision they arrived at was not one that a reasonable, unbiased person would make if considering the evidence before them”.

There are many reasons for New Era Energy’s continued strong opposition to the line, one of which is security of supply. The Transpower proposal will in fact reduce the security of electricity supply to Auckland by 18,000 times, by putting most transmission into one giant, highly vulnerable line, which if it fails, could cascade into taking out electricity supply to most of the upper North Island, much like the huge blackouts in the US in recent years.

Other more secure alternatives to the proposed line, which would have landowner support, and could be built much more quickly and cheaply than the billion dollar line proposed by Transpower, include reconductoring and duplexing the three existing supply lines to Auckland, using less obtrusive transmission technology such as HVDC or conventional sized 220kV lines, and encouraging more Auckland area generation.

“There is no panic to have this line approved and built, as Transpower have misled the public and the Government into believing” says McQueen. “The best and most recent estimates of Auckland demand growth, constructed by the Electricity Commission, but set aside by the majority of the Commissioners in an attempt to push the Transpower proposal through, show that this line energised at 400kV line would definitely not be needed in the next 20 years, and likely not ever, if upgrading of existing lines and some new generation were to take place soon.”

New Era Energy have retained top Auckland barrister Paul Cavanagh, QC, as their counsel to prepare the request for Judicial Review. “We feel we have a very good prospect for a successful outcome from this High Court challenge on the flawed Electricity Commission decision” says Cavanagh.

ends

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