Transpower needs to inform the community if its intending to seek fresh resource consents for the electricity transmission lines and power poles it has upgraded along Paraparaumu’s Valley Road and Waikanae.
A High Court decision delivered on November 23 last year saw the Court declare seven consents and permissions issued by KCDC to Transpower as being invalid and were quashed.
Order by Justice Williams
Justice J Williams ordered Transpower to initiate applications for all these permissions and consents within three months to make them compliant with the RMA.
The consents and certificates of compliances declared invalid and quashed included reconductoring work undertaken in Waikanae. That three-month deadline runs out this week.
(Back in 2003 Transpower upgraded its power lines to conduct higher levels of electricity by claiming that it was just maintenance work. If its defined as maintenance, then council does not have to publicly notify the consent. Council staff had repeatedly accommodated Transpower’s work.
The upgrades had resulted in new and taller power poles, wider cross arms which trespassed into private property and in one case – the Palm Grove Camp establishment at Valley Road – used by children, the sagging power lines were overhanging the iron roof of the chapel.
The residents organised and fought back forcing council to accept that some of the consents were invalid. KCDC in fact paid $20,000 to KHVC to help them file a legal appeal.–Editor)
The first plaintiff in this action was the Kapiti High Voltage Coalition Inc and the second plaintiffs were Mike Alexander, Brandon Hindry (both of Valley Road) and Juergen Jenker (Waikanae). The first defendant was KCDC and the second, Transpower NZ Ltd.
I congratulate the local residents who had been fighting Transpower since 2003 and finally forming the KHVC group in 2007 to initiate a judicial review in the High Court.
Shortcomings in KCDC’s consent process
The decision highlights serious shortcomings in KCDC’s consenting process and the long standing criticism of Transpower as bully boys with deep pockets.
It is worth noting that, until new applications are approved, the power lines are in a legal limbo… they appear to have no legal right to exist.
Council had wrongly issued these seven consents and certificates without notifying the public. KCDC had claimed that, in some of these, council staff were misled by Transpower.
A complicating factor is that because the appeal was filed long after the work had been approved a new law on resource management had come into force.
The National Environmental Standards for Electricity Transmission Activities came into force in 2010. This is more permissive and largely overrides electricity transmission issues contained in current district plans.
Justice Williams had left the matter, of whether Transpower’s applications should be notified or not, to be an issue for KCDC. KCDC had been and continues to be under political pressure to notify any such applications.