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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand First – Release/Statement

Headline: Government Power Prices Rip-Off Northlanders

New Zealand First says new Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins needs to act to prevent Northlanders being hit by $8.8m worth of power price increases.

“With average connection costs in the Far North (Top Energy) set to increase by $70 and $116 for Northpower, the new Minister needs to exercise her Section 18 powers and review the Electricity Authority’s Transmission Pricing Methodology,” says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP, Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Being ‘an average increase’ it hides the reality that larger power users, the ones who employ people and create jobs, face massive power price increases. They are so bad that it killed off 200 jobs at the proposed Ngawha pulp plant.

“Ms Collins predecessor, Simon Bridges, on 21 November told me in a Yes Minister-type answer, that for every $1 we pay in “area of benefit charges” Northland will get $4.7 in unspecified “additional benefits”.

“What “additional benefits” were on show during Northland’s recent blackout? These hikes are about making consumers pay for what Transpower has already built, then making them underwrite generator dividends and subsidising Australia’s Rio Tinto.

“The Electricity Authority is a Wellington-based bureaucracy with 43 staff on over $100,000, a CEO earning over $7,000 per-week and a Chairman on $252,000. As such the new energy Minister’s first job should be to reign this bloated authority in and force them to reconnect with the needs of ordinary businesses and consumers,” says Mr Peters.