Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Compulsory acquisition powers not for private co.s


Compulsory acquisition powers not for private companies

Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said a request by Meridian Energy for new powers to compulsorily acquire land for Project Aqua would open the floodgates for private electricity generators to force landowners to sell their properties.

Meridian Energy has made the first application to the Environment Ministry for powers that would allow the company to compulsorily acquire private property that it wants for a proposed hydro scheme on the Waitaki River in Otago. These powers would also enable it to bypass local authority processes for land use consents.

"This application could set a really serious precedent," said Ms Fitzsimons. "Meridian is actually trying to secure the right to seize land in the same way as Government departments used the Public Works Act to acquire land that was deemed to be needed in the national interest.

"These powers were used to ensure that essential infrastructural assets were put in place in an era when it was deemed that the need for big infrastructure projects over-rode democratic rights," she said.

"These powers were initially available only to the State. As a result of privatisations they are now available to private companies like Telecom and electricity lines companies. Generators are currently excluded because power stations are not networks.

"Granting it to Meridian, an SOE, would make it difficult to decline the powers for Contact, an overseas-owned generator, for its next gas fired power station. This further tips the balance for new power supply and against energy efficiency and small-scale renewables for which no such concessions are available."

Meridian has applied to the Environment Ministry for status as a network operator for its proposed scheme. If granted, Meridian could then apply directly to the Environment Minister to be declared a requiring authority. In Parliament today Pete Hodgson, on behalf of the Environment Minister, refused to rule out the concession.

"The concept of requiring authorities over-riding the normal processes of the RMA and fair negotiations with landowners about purchase of their properties is outdated. No other country in the world gives this power to private companies.

"The Greens are calling on the Environment Minister to review, with a view to abolishing, requiring authority status generally," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"I'm surprised that Meridian, which positions itself as a company that complies with strict triple bottom line accounting concepts, would seek to over-ride the wishes of the community like this."


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>

 

Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election