All Black Anton Oliver says New Zealand’s energy sector is callous and Meridian Energy’s campaign to build a 176-turbine wind farm is “deliberately deceiving”.
Oliver, who has a holiday home in the Central Otago town of St Bathans, yesterday spoke during public submissions on the proposed $2 billion wind farm on the Lammermoor Range, 30km south of Ranfurly.
Submissions were heard yesterday from residents including Oliver and poet Brian Turner and a written submission from artist Grahame Sydney, who is overseas.
Oliver told a panel considering the farm that Meridian Energy was not to be trusted.
“The recent events surrounding Solid Energy and the revelation that it knowingly and willingly employed people to spy on citizens, alongside Mercury Energy’s decision to turn off a home’s electricity and a human life for $163, illustrate the duplicitous and callous nature of this sector.
Meridian are no better,” he said.
The reason for Project Hayes was not to provide power for local use, as advocated by the company, but to provide power to Comalco, the operator of the Tiwai Aluminium Smelter.
Comalco used over half of the power already generated in Otago and Southland, he said.
“Meridian’s campaign has been one of half-truths, misinformation, hiding and fudging information in a manner that can only be described as deliberately deceiving or unbelievably incompetent.”
It was time New Zealand considered different ways of generating energy.
“We cannot keep going down this Think Big road. Sooner or later someone has to say we can’t keep doing this. It’s fraught with danger,” he said.
Turner said the project would damage the landscape of the remote Lammermoor Range.
“The project is a continuation of a pattern of gross landscape abuse of the south which has been promoted by successive governments aware of the fact that the majority of the population of New Zealand, hence the voting power, is found in the north.
“The time has come to say, leave the south alone: enough is enough. Time, too, for the south to reject the ethos behind the continuing desecration of our lands and waters,” he said.
By Debbie Jamieson
13 June 2007
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