New Zealand needs nuclear power, say farmers
The Waikato pylon
controversy shows it is time for the country to reignite
the nuclear power debate, say leaders in New Zealand's
In light of Transpower's proposal to string 400kV lines
on pylons running from Whakamaru to Otahuhu up the
central North Island, Federated Farmers vice-president
Charlie Pedersen says it's time New Zealand grew up.
"Nuclear power could offer New Zealand some very
economic and environmentally-friendly options as far as
producing electricity at the top end of our country,"
"Let's join the century that we actually live in."
"A lot of other countries get their energy that way."
Federated Farmers has advised its members to unite in
their negotiations with Transpower.
Mr Pedersen says Transpower has made a rod for its back
through past dealings with farmers.
In the case of farmers living with existing lines south
of Auckland, they plan to tell Transpower they will not
sit at any negotiation table until proper compensation
for the lines they already have running across their
properties is resolved.
"If we bargain together we have a great deal of
strength rather than individually," says Mr Pedersen.
He says the power lines are a significant detriment to
the value of a property, and restrictions planned on land
use along the lines corridor will hurt farmers.
"The effect on property values and land has to be
balanced with the need to provide Aucklanders with air-conditioning."
People have the right to turn on a switch and have a
light go on, Mr Pedersen says, but to keep the whole
country in power long term, other options have to be
"Two out of the last three years we have had the
threat of blackouts. Something has to be done."
His calls for the nuclear debate are backed by other
Federated Farmers members.
Auckland dairy section chairman John Sexton says that
when he has discussed the issue with members, he has seen
"Other countries are doing it. We've almost run out
of hydro power, which leaves us gas and coal, and we
can't do that because of our commitment to Kyoto."
While farmers seem to want the nuclear debate and demand
Transpower look at other options, most are worried about
the impact the lines would have on their business.
Matamata dairy farmer Adrian Ball farms 121ha in the
heart of cow country on some of the most expensive
dairying land in New Zealand. His finely-tuned business
won the Fonterra farm business of the year in 2003.
The technology is old, he says.
"Farms have got a lot more intensive."
In his area the planned line runs across airstrips and
cropping land, where farmers rely on choppers for
He says if the line goes ahead, Transpower should pay
rental rates, not lump-sum compensation.
One route option runs through the back of his farm.
"It is an easy option, but it's not fixing the
problem of what's best for New Zealand."
He says in his area the bulk of those affected are dairy
"The dairy industry has been proactive in terms of
the environment and that's had a huge cost for farmers to
comply with those standards. We don't think Transpower
has been proactive at all."
What it's about
The top half of the North Island - especially Auckland -
can't get enough electricity from the rest of the country
because its transmission lines are out of date.
Transpower, the company which runs the national grid,
wants to solve the problem by building a new line of
bigger pylons up to 70m high through private land across
Waikato and South Auckland.
Many landowners are horrified. They say the pylons will
wreck their property values, restrict their ability to
use their land and may also damage their health.
Today's coverage is the final part of a week-long Herald
series examining the argument from both sides - from the
planners who say the new line is essential to the
protesters vowing to fight it to the bitter end.
Zdroj: The New Zealand Herald
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