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Draft report on electricity transmission under RMA

Hon David Benson-Pope, MP
Minister for the Environment

Hon David Parker, MP
Minister for Energy
16 December 2005 Media Statement

Draft report on electricity transmission under the RMA released for comment

A draft report on whether a national policy statement and national environmental standards on electricity transmission should be prepared under the Resource Management Act was today released by the Minister for the Environment David Benson-Pope and Minister for Energy David Parker.

The report concludes that there are likely to be net benefits from creating a national policy statement and national environmental standards.

Environment Minister David Benson-Pope, who earlier this year championed a package of changes to the RMA, says a significant element of those RMA reforms was the greater emphasis placed on providing national direction and consistency.

“In the case of electricity transmission, national standards could ensure decision-making under the RMA takes into account the national benefits of transmission, as well as any local costs,” said Mr Benson-Pope. “Government could also provide guidance and national standards on the management of the adverse effects of transmission on the environment, for example, the visual impact or noise from substations."

Energy Minister David Parker says a national policy statement and standards would be about transmission generally and would not directly address individual projects such as Transpower’s proposed new transmission line from Whakamaru to Otahuhu.

“Transmission is a vital component of New Zealand’s infrastructure and security of electricity supply," said David Parker. "It is important that we get the balance right between ensuring we have a secure and efficient grid, and minimising its adverse impacts."

The draft report has been prepared by a reference group comprising the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Treasury, Transpower, Federated Farmers, Business New Zealand, Electricity Commission, and Local Government New Zealand.

Comments on the draft report are invited by 28 February 2006. The reference group will then consider these submissions before finalising their report for government consideration.

The draft report is available on www.med.govt.nz or www.mfe.govt.nz.

ENDS

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