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Close The Gates!

If the Government presses ahead with the Electricity Industry Bill, in its present form, I will lead by example and close the gates to my property and refuse access for lines crews, ACT Agriculture spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"The Government is attacking farmers’ property rights – their bread and butter.

"It would appear that the Government is involved in a duplicitous conspiracy with electricity line rental companies to keep line rental cheaper, at the expense of the farmer.

"Farmers get no rent for the electrical lines that cross their properties. Often lines are imposed upon them, without any consultation, or benefit to them. Now, they are about to get expenses and responsibilities loaded upon them as well.

"Recently, the Rural Fire Authority billed a farmer in Central Otago on whose land the serious Alexandra fires began. High winds caused the line to fall onto dry ground, sparking a fire.

"Litigious action like this will increase if this legislation goes ahead.

"Farmers’ goodwill toward line companies will go out the window if the Government continues with this property right abuse. I am certain many farmers will join me in locking their gates and refuse the line companies access unless they are served with legal papers.

"If the Select Committee fails to rectify the offending clauses of this Bill, then they should not be surprised if farmers take drastic action,” Gerry Eckhoff said.

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