The owner and operator of the national grid is attempting a surreptitious land grab by restricting building and landscaping work within 64m of pylon cables on the private property of rural landowners. It is doing this under the auspices of a proposed “corridor management policy”, which it wants to introduce nationwide via local councils’ district plans.
Currently Transpower restricts some activities within 12m of its cables and this does not appear to cause many problems. But now it wants to extend that to 64m – meaning landowners will have to get consent to use their own land.
With thousands of pylons running across farms throughout New Zealand, this 64m strip will see a huge amount of farmland forcibly commandeered without compensation.
Transpower claims it is only protecting the nation’s assets and its main concern is safety. It also believes no compensation is required because its latest proposal simply updates a policy that has already existed for 10 years.
It conveniently forgets that the bulk of its transmission assets are sited on land seized by the Crown, without reparation, under the Public Works Act, and there is no formal arrangement between Transpower and landowners.
Councils around the country which contemplate incorporating into their district plans Transpower’s 64 m ‘corridor’, without compensating landowners, are in danger of legitimising and condoning theft.
Farmers are stuck with pylons on their land and all they are asking is a fair and just arrangement between themselves and Transpower. To date, it has steadfastly rejected calls for redress for affected landowners. That is not fair in anyone’s language.
Transpower needs to be brought quickly into line by its owner – the NZ Government. It should be instructed to negotiate with landowners in a meaningful and fair manner, rather than trying to undertake a covert land grab via local councils’ district planning process.