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Source: New Zealand Government

  • Options propose to improve the resilience of the electricity network and prepare New Zealand for a changing climate.
  • Feedback sought on amendments to Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003.
  • The Regulations cover the trimming of trees near power lines and aim to protect the security of New Zealand’s electric supply and keep the public safe.

The Government wants public feedback on its work to improve the twenty-year-old rules around trees near electricity lines and infrastructure, the Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods announced today.

“Cyclone Gabrielle has highlighted the hazards to electricity lines and transmission infrastructure from vegetation in extreme weather events. The climate is changing and so must we,” Megan Woods said.

Proposed options to improve the resilience of the electricity network, in regard to potential damage from trees, has been released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 cover the trimming of trees near power lines, to protect the security of electricity supply and keep the public safe.

The Regulations detail the rights and responsibilities of those who own trees and forests, and ‘works’ owners, such as electricity line owners or operators, where trees and electricity lines share space.

“The Government has engaged with key stakeholders who own vegetation and those who manage the local electricity lines to identify opportunities to make improvements”, Minister Woods said.

“We’ve got a lot of good information about how to make the rules as effective and efficient as possible and we’re now asking for wider feedback to ensure the Regulations are fit-for-purpose with our changing climate.

“The events of the past few weeks make this consultation timely. We have seen unprecedented and widespread damage to our communities, and have collectively felt the impacts of extreme weather events.

“It is clear that we need to act to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and make sure our communities are as resilient as possible.

“Improving the Trees Regulations will help manage one piece of the puzzle in transitioning our country towards a climate-resilient future,” Megan Woods said.

Have your say on the Government’s consultation on amendments to the Trees Regulations here. Submissions close 19 April 2023.