Transpower has lodged notices of requirement with affected Auckland and Waikato councils for land to be used to upgrade the transmission line, cable routes and substations of the North Island grid.
A notice of requirement is the way a network utility operator gives formal notice to a city or district council of its requirement for designation of land for a project under the Resource Management Act.
A designation, once included in a district plan, gives effect to the notice of requirement and enables the utility operator to undertake specified activities without obtaining land use consents from the city or district council. A designation also requires anyone intending to do anything within the designated area that would prevent or hinder the project obtain written consent from the requiring authority. This applies from the time a notice of requirement is lodged.
Under section 141A of the Resource Management Act, the Minister can call in a project by directing that the matter is referred to either
This means that the matter is decided by either of these two bodies instead of the relevant district, city or regional councils.
The call-in process effectively combines the councils’ consideration and the Environment Court appeal process.
The Minister has called in Transpower’s proposal because he considers it to be a project of national significance. The Minister has made a formal assessment against the following criteria:
Please note, Minister Hodgson is not acting in his role as the Minister of Health. He is acting on behalf of the Minister for the Environment.
The Minister has publicly notified the proposal and accepted submissions.
A Board of Inquiry will receive the written submissions and they will also hold public hearings to listen to the submitters who indicate they wish to speak at the hearing.
A Board of Inquiry must be chaired by a current, former or retired Environment Court judge. It can have a total of three to five members.
The appointment of the Board by the Minister will follow the Cabinet process for appointments. The Minister will choose members with skills and experience relevant to the inquiry.
Once established, the Board of Inquiry will consider Transpower’s proposal. The Board will decide whether to commission any reports and it will also establish the process for hearing public submissions. The duration of the hearing will depend on the number and nature of submissions.
Following the hearing, the Board of Inquiry will issue a draft decision. Councils, submitters, the applicant and the Minister then have an opportunity to comment before the Board makes its final decision. The process to be followed for a Board of Inquiry is set out in the Resource Management Act.
Councils will be able make submissions and attend hearings. The processes established by the councils in anticipation of Transpower’s application will be used where practicable in the decision process.
Councils will administer consents if granted.
The proposal comes within:
No. Transpower’s application will be judged on its merits by the Board of Inquiry in accordance with the provisions of the Resource Management Act. The Board of Inquiry– not the Minister – will make the final decision.
See the information sheet on Transpower’s North Island Grid Upgrade Project – proposal for a new electricity transmission line for more details.
Further information is available from the Ministry for Environment and all nine council offices.
No. A Board of Inquiry considers the environmental effects of the proposal and does not confer rights of access.
Transpower can arrange for an easement agreement with landowners or use the provisions of the Public Works Act 1981 to obtain access.
Compensation is not a consideration for a Board of Inquiry. Transpower can purchase land outright by agreement with landowners, or (as a requiring authority) may apply to the Minister of Lands to acquire land required for a project under the Public Works Act 1981. Landowners can seek compensation for land acquired in this way.
Yes. Resource consents will be required from regional councils for associated works, for example, earthworks and stream crossings. Resource consents will be called in by the Minister where they are an integral part of the transmission line proposal.
The Electricity Commission has a separate process for evaluating the proposal in terms of whether it is an appropriate investment for New Zealand’s electricity transmission infrastructure.
The Electricity Commission is required to consult on and approve (or not) investments proposed by Transpower in a Grid Upgrade Plan (GUP).
The Electricity Commission has approved Transpower’s application.
A proposed national policy statement on electricity transmission was notified in May 2007 and submissions closed on 25 June. A Board of Inquiry is considering submissions and will make recommendations to the Minister for the Environment. The purpose of the policy statement is to recognise the national significance of the electricity transmission network and it sets out objectives and policies for managing the national grid under the Resource Management Act. It is still at the proposal stage and so it has no legal status in the consideration of notices of requirement and resource consent applications.
The proposed national environmental standards (NESs) are expected to cover the operation, maintenance and upgrading of transmission lines, not the construction of new lines.
Consultation on proposals for two national environmental standards for electricity transmission is expected to occur during 2007. Taking into account the amount of time needed for consultation on the proposals, approval, regulation drafting and an implementation phase, it is unlikely that the NESs will take effect before a final decision is made on Transpower’s proposal.
Once Transpower has lodged its notices of requirement and associated resource consents, local authorities are required to deal with them. The Minister’s powers to call in the proposal can only be exercised up until five working days before the hearing set for the notice of requirement and any associated resource consents. The Minister cannot delay his decision to intervene until the NPS and NES have been finalised.
Last updated: 16 January 2009