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Rural community reassured over Commission's role

13 April 2005

Rural community reassured over Commission's role

Rural Affairs Minister Damien O'Connor says the government's letter to the Electricity Commission regarding Transpower's Whakamaru to Otahuhu grid proposal will help ensure a full, fair and independent decision-making process.

Energy Minister Trevor Mallard wrote to the commission yesterday, setting out and confirming the government's expectation that the commission will undertake an independent and wide consultative process when considering the proposed grid upgrade.

The letter stressed the need for the commission to thoroughly assess the proposal against other alternatives that could meet the on-going requirement for security of electricity supply to Auckland.

It also made it clear the government expects the commission to ensure all affected parties, including local communities, have ample opportunity to voice their views and participate in the decision-making process.

Mr O'Connor agreed community participation was vital, and reassured the rural community it would have its say. "There's been a lot of angst around the proposal so far. Some members of the rural community feel the process is being rushed, that they're not being properly consulted and that their views are not being heard.

"But I can reassure the rural community that the Electricity Commission was set up to ensure this is not the case. The commission is specifically charged with carrying out the independent assessment of all proposals.

"This is the time for rural landowners and community members to have their say."


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