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Parker: Launch of the Land Code

Hon David Parker
Minister of Energy


3 October 2006

Speech notes

Launch of the Land Code
Address to the Electricity & Gas Complaints Commission
7.30am, Chancellor Room, James Cook Hotel, Wellington


Good morning.

Thank you for your invitation to attend this morning.

I am delighted to be involved today in the launch of the new Land Code, as an addition to the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner Scheme.

This expansion represents another development in the promotion of consumer welfare in the energy sector – work which is highly regarded by the government.

From the beginning of this month, land owners and occupiers with complaints about electricity and gas distribution and transmission companies have access to an independent and free complaints resolution service, in the same way that consumers have had since January 2002 for electricity and April 2005 for gas.

The 2004 amendments to the Electricity and Gas Acts and the 2004 Government Policy Statement on electricity governance were the drivers behind the expansion of the scheme.

These set out the government’s requirement that consumers, land owners and occupiers of land have access to a free and independent system to resolve complaints about electricity and gas retailers and lines companies.

A significant feature of the new land code is that land owners and occupiers do not need to have a land agreement or a contract with the distribution and transmission companies to make a complaint.

I appreciate the work undertaken by the Land Code Working Group, which included electricity and gas companies and Transpower, to enable this expansion of the scheme to cover land owners’ and occupiers’ disputes.

A thorough consultative process has been followed, involving all of the interested parties, including members of the scheme, representatives of landowners and occupiers, and relevant government agencies.

It will be important for scheme members to be aware that they are also responsible for the actions of their contractors.

They must therefore ensure that their contractors, and the owners and occupiers that they deal with, are aware of the scheme and the services that are associated with it.

It will indeed be a challenge to communicate with such a diverse customer base.

It is pleasing to see that Transpower has become a member of the scheme, which is particularly important given the scheme’s inclusion of land issues.

This morning’s function is also a good time to mark the 5th birthday of the scheme.

On 28 August 2001 electricity representatives met in the office of my predecessor, Pete Hodgson, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the scheme.

The scheme was officially established on 1 October 2001 and the Commissioner, Judi Jones, has offered a free, independent, dispute resolution service since setting up the office in January 2002 to deal with electricity complaints.

The office of the commissioner is now well established, and is an excellent example of industry self-regulation.

I thank the Commission Chair, Alison Paterson, who has also been in her role for the five years that the scheme has existed.

I also thank Judi Jones, who has been the Electricity Complaints Commissioner since the since the scheme began, for her enthusiasm and hard work on behalf of electricity consumers.

I wish the Commission all the best in undertaking the functions envisaged by the government to ensure electricity and gas consumers, land owners and land occupiers have access to a free and independent complaints resolution scheme.


ENDS

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