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Kiwis don’t want cheaper power at others' expense

Kiwis don’t want cheaper power if it means someone else has to pay more

"According to a poll commissioned by a group of consumer trusts, businesses, farming, local government and electricity sector participants, the kiwi spirit of giving everyone a fair go is alive and well across the country, with over 50% of Kiwis rejecting cheaper power bills if it meant other Kiwis in different parts of the country would have to pay more," Kim Campbell, a spokesperson for the Group said today.

The Group includes the Ashburton District Council, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Counties Power and its consumer trust, EA Networks, EMA Northern, Entrust, Auckland Federated Farmers, Northpower, Norske Skog, New Zealand Steel, Top Energy and Vector.

At a press conference, representatives rejected the Electricity Authority’s proposed changes to New Zealand’s transmission pricing that pits communities against each other and tabled polling that suggests Kiwis reject them too.

"The Electricity Authority’s proposals to change the way households and businesses pay for their electricity will 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," said Mr Campbell.

"The plan is fundamentally different from the way we’ve paid for our roads, our railways and phone infrastructure, where the costs have been evenly and fairly shared around.

"The proposals are divisive. They pit region against region, business against business and community against community. They will negatively impact around 2.5 million New Zealanders, largely from the central North Island to the Far North, Mid Canterbury, Waitaki, parts of Central Otago and Kapiti/Horowhenua.

"In 2012, the Authority disbanded an industry working group looking at the issue, so those who could’ve given expert advice were shut out. It hasn’t commissioned any independent expert reviews of the merits of its proposals. No cross-submissions have been allowed, and there is no regulatory right of appeal. This is bad regulatory process.

"And the New Zealanders who will bear the brunt of these changes don’t even know what’s coming - they are being rushed through by stealth before Christmas.

"As a group we decided to ask Kiwis if they agreed with some of the proposed changes. The results send a clear message to the Government that both industry and New Zealand do not support the divisive proposals set out by the Electricity Authority.

"We have all called 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.

Summary of poll findings:

- 56% of respondents are unwilling to pay less for power each year if it means another household in a different part of NZ had to pay more. 27% said they were and 17% were unsure.

- 47% of respondents are unwilling to pay less for power each year if it means businesses would have to pay up to an extra $20,000 a year. 32% said they were and 21% said they were unsure.

- 59% of respondents will come under financial pressure if their power bills were to increase.

View the report here.


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