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2005 plan to fix Cook Strait cable warned of risk

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Energy Spokesman

19 February 2008

2005 plan to fix Cook Strait cable warned of risk

National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee says Labour was warned in 2005 that there was an 'unacceptable' risk posed to the security of New Zealand's electricity supply due to the condition of the Cook Strait cable.

"In 2005, Labour's Electricity Commission was considering a significant plan to repair the Cook Strait cable by 2010. In the conclusion the documents say the medium term 'risk profile is unacceptable'.

"Yet, last week David Parker said the partial shutdown of the cable was a 'surprise' and Helen Clark said yesterday 'eyebrows have certainly been raised'.

"But neither of those stories is credible. The Government has known about the deteriorating condition of the Cook Strait cable for years.

"Documents on the Electricity Commission website show that in 2005, one of the options was no investment - but that would involve the complete decommissioning of the Pole One HVDC by 2010.

"Yet, David Parker told Parliament last week that 'we were told that it had many years of life left in it'. That simply can not be correct on the basis of the Electricity Commission's own documents."

The documents (which are available at: archterm=HVDC%20Pole%201 ) even detail projected costs of the investment required.

In 2005, Labour was being told, 'a commitment should be made in the near future to either completely replace or decommission the Pole 1 converter stations'.

"Labour has utterly failed to deal with the big issues facing our energy infrastructure during its nine years in office.

"David Parker now needs to explain his claim that the temporary closure of Pole 1 was a surprise - given that the paper trail tells a very different story."


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