Py­lon pres­sure mounts

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By DANIELLE STREET

PRES­SURE is on the Gov­ern­ment to make a longterm com­mit­ment to bury the un­sightly power py­lons that stretch across cen­tral Auck­land.

Close to 3000 sig­na­tures were gath­ered on two pe­ti­tions steered by po­lit­i­cal group Roskill Com­mu­nity Voice and Maun­gakiekiebased Labour list MP Carol Beau­mont.

They were tabled at Par­lia­ment in De­cem­ber and are now with the Com­merce Com­mit­tee where they will be re­viewed.

Roskill Com­mu­nity Voice mem­ber David Holm be­lieves the Bury the Py­lons cam­paign helped the group earn a ma­jor­ity on the Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board in last year’s lo­cal elec­tions.

‘‘We pushed it very hard with signs all over the place,’’ he says.

‘‘Auck­land’s sup­posed to be be­com­ing the most liv­able city in New Zealand and we think the py­lons need to go un­der­ground to en­able the city to grow and be more liv­able.’’

Mr Holm says un­der­ground­ing will im­prove se­cu­rity of sup­ply as well as the aes­thet­ics of the area.

Mt Roskill res­i­dent David White­head lives un­der a py­lon and says re­cently im­ple­mented re­stric­tions are ham­per­ing landowner’s abil­ity to build.

‘‘We’ve lived here for 46 years with­out any prob­lem, but it’s now go­ing to go on our LIM re­port, which will be a neg­a­tive fac­tor to the value of the house be­cause we are right plum un­der­neath one.’’

There are about 60 high volt­age tow­ers in the Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board area, as well as a num­ber in One­hunga and in the west.

Ac­cord­ing to Trans­power the cost of un­der­ground­ing runs from $5 mil­lion to $15m per kilo­me­tre.

To put all of Trans­power’s 400km of ur­ban lines un­der- ground would cost es­ti­mated $4 bil­lion.

But Mr Holm says there is money avail­able to be put aside for the project.

‘‘Trans­power has now fin­ished some big projects and they are dish­ing out big div­i­dends,’’ he says.

‘‘In their re­port they ac­tu­ally sug­gest that funds could be made avail­able by cut­ting the div­i­dend back.’’

Trans­power paid the Gov­ern­ment $294.7m worth of div­i­dends for the 2012-2013 fi­nan­cial year.

Labour MP for Mt Roskill Phil Goff is back­ing the cam­paign.

He and Ms Beau­mont are angling for seats on the se­lect com­mit­tee that will be re­view­ing the pe­ti­tions af­ter sub­mis­sions close on Fe­bru­ary 18.

‘‘We ac­cept that it will take a num­ber of years and it will need to be done stepby-step. We know it won’t hap­pen im­me­di­ately but we want a com­mit­ment,’’ Mr Goff says.

He says the $28m project to up­grade the One­hunga fore­shore will be tainted by the huge metal struc­tures.

‘‘There is no­body that wouldn’t agree that those py­lons aren’t a blot on the land­scape when you look across to the Manukau Heads,’’ he says.

‘‘And it’s not a fair go for the peo­ple that live un­der the lines.’’

Ms Beau­mont says there is huge sup­port for the cam­paign and plan­ning to make it hap­pen needs to be set in place.

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