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Farmers Pay For Labour Politicking

Farmers and the rural community will be the big losers if Labour does not support legislation to impose price controls on monopoly electricity lines companies, Enterprise and Commerce Minister Max Bradford says.

"A large part of rural power bills is the lines charge component.

"Because Labour has done a backroom deal with monopoly lines companies, farmers and rural people who are paying too much have been denied the chance for relief and lower power bills.

"Labour has left rural people at the mercy of big business.

"Labour has allowed monopoly companies to lock in excessive charges. The Bill, which Labour now says it opposes, would have empowered the Commerce Commission to investigate and act against overcharging," Mr Bradford said.

Mr Bradford said some monopoly lines companies, represented by the Electricity Network Association, were also being duplicitous.

"The Christchurch-based Orion lines company said yesterday the reforms had not worked.

"However, in a letter sent to me on May 3 this year by Orion chairman John Gray, Mr Gray said: "we would like to point out that in Christchurch the reforms are working.

" Some lines companies are speaking out of both sides of their mouth," Mr Bradford said.

ENDS

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