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Has NZ First done its powerlines homework?

16 February 2005

Has NZ First done its powerlines homework?

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons wonders whether New Zealand First has done its homework on transmission lines.

New Zealand First MP Brent Catchpole has today advocated that Transpower's proposed electricity lines across Waikato and South Auckland be placed underground through residential and semi-rural areas.

"Journalists should ask Brent Catchpole how much his proposal to put some of the lines underground would cost," Ms Fitzsimons said. "Estimates I have seen put the cost of undergrounding at ten times the cost of overground lines. The Whakamaru to Otahuhu line is currently planned to cost $500 million.

"Is Mr Catchpole really advocating an alternative that would increase many-fold the cost of the transmission lines while doing little to alleviate the many environmental problems the lines create?"

Ms Fitzsimons said the Greens believed good alternatives existed that would make the lines unnecessary.

"These include wood-fired co-generation, direct use of gas in Auckland, peak-load shifting, and much greater energy efficiency. We challenge the Electricity Commission to fund a feasibility study to make sure these alternatives are properly developed and costed. The Commission has a statutory requirement to assess Transpower's proposal for new lines against the alternatives."


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