Despite Contact Energy announcing it won’t be proceeding with its $400million Waitahora wind farm in the “foreseeable future”, what happens next will be a major election issue, Stuart Brown says.
Mr Brown is a member of the Guardians of the Puketoi group, which spent more than $100,000 fighting the original consent for the wind farm on Waewaepa Station in the Waitahora Valley.
He told the Dannevirke News Tararua District Council candidates would be facing some tough questions during their campaigning for the upcoming local body elections.
“Even with Contact’s announcement the wind farm isn’t likely to go ahead before the consent expires in 2015, we’re not really any better off,” he said. “Yes, this is some good news, but we knew all along things didn’t stack up. But once the consent relapse period comes up in 2015, Contact is going to have to apply to the chief executive of the Tararua District Council for an extension.
“The consent was issued by the Environment Court, but it’ll be up to the council’s chief executive to decide on an extension. It’ll be a thorny issue for him and he might defer to the council committee. So to me, it’s an election issue.”
Mr Brown said those opposed to the wind farm proceeding wanted to know where candidates stood.
“I won’t be voting for anyone who wants to issue a consent in 2015 and we’ll be asking some tough questions of the candidates,” he said.
However, Canon Tim Delaney, who is standing for the Dannevirke Community Board, has told the Dannevirke News, he was “getting a bit sick of all those opposed to wind farms and oil exploration” in our district. “With so many people opposed to wind farms and the fracking that may come with oil exploration, are we even going to be allowed to rub two sticks together to make a fire?” he said.
“We can’t have prosperity and jobs without these types of enterprises.” With uncertainty surrounding the future of the wind farm project Mr Brown said he believed one option for Contact Energy would be to sell the consent to Mighty River Power.