Omanaia next in line

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Top En­ergy is about to be­gin its re­fur­bish­ment of the Omanaia sub­sta­tion, to im­prove the re­li­a­bil­ity of the power sup­ply to the South Hokianga area.

The first phase, ex­tend­ing the sub­sta­tion switch room, is sched­uled for com­ple­tion by Christ­mas.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Rus­sell Shaw said the project was part of Top En­ergy’s 10-year, $260 mil­lion in­vest­ment in im­prov­ing the re­li­a­bil­ity of the power sup­ply in the Far North. The aim was to re­duce the du­ra­tion and scale of out­ages, the ex­ten­sion en­abling elec­tric­ity to be “back-fed” from other parts of the net­work while crews re­store the sup­ply.

Once the first phase was com­pleted, re­fur­bish­ment of the sub­sta­tion yard and re­con­fig­u­ra­tion of the high­volt­age 33kV lines would get un­der way, early next year.

To re­duce the lo­cal im­pact of the works, two 1MW diesel gen­er­a­tors would be in­stalled at Omanaia over the sum­mer, to main­tain the sup­ply to 1600 south-west Hokianga cus­tomers. Once the work was com­pleted the gen­er­a­tors, along with more that were yet to be bought, would be moved to Kaitaia, where they would be used to se­cure sup­ply to the north­ern net­work’s 10,000 cus­tomers. The gov­ern­ment has failed to ad­dress some key ques­tions in its pro­posal for sweep­ing changes to ten­ancy law and rental prop­erty stan­dards ac­cord­ing to Ten­an­cies War spokesman Mike But­ler.

Those ques­tions were con­cerned why so many peo­ple were re­luc­tant to turn on elec­tric heaters, and how own­ers would evict law­less ten­ants who in­tim­i­dated wit­nesses to their be­hav­iour.

The pro­posed changes to ten­ancy law, he said, would pre­vent own­ers end­ing ten­an­cies, ban fixed-term ten­an­cies, al­low ten­ants to mod­ify a prop­erty, al­low ten­ants to keep pets, and en­able gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to en­ter board­ing houses at any time.

Ad­di­tional stan­dards would re­quire a heat pump in every room, ad­di­tional in­su­la­tion be­yond the present re­quire­ment, ex­trac­tor fans in bath­rooms and kitchens, a poly­thene sheet on the ground un­der every house, and draught-stop tape around win­dows and doors.

“If these re­quire­ments are nec­es­sary for pub­lic health, why are they lim­ited to the oc­cu­pants of 588,700 rental prop­er­ties and not ex­tended to New Zealand’s 1.1 mil­lion owner-oc­cu­pied homes?” Mr But­ler asked.

“The as­sump­tion that ten­ants are in peril if the tem­per­a­ture is less than 18C is ab­surd,” he added. “Even if a heat pump is in­stalled in every room, who is go­ing to check to see that it is run­ning, and run­ning at the cor­rect tem­per­a­ture?”

He also noted that sub­mis­sion ques­tions on both the ten­ancy law pro­pos­als and new stan­dards ex­cluded any op­por­tu­nity to sup­port the sta­tus quo. Ten­an­cies War had there­fore sent amended ques­tions that al­lowed all com­ments to ten­ants and land­lords around the coun­try, so the gov­ern­ment would re­ceive some “hon­est” feed­back. Or­gan­ise Aotearoa, a new so­cial­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion “for all of Aotearoa,” has been launched, unit­ing Ma¯ori, Pa¯keha¯ and tauiwi, work­ers, stu­dents, ben­e­fi­cia­ries, union­ists, teach­ers and peo­ple from every walk of life, with the goal of “un­do­ing the vi­o­lence in­flicted by colo­nial­ism and cap­i­tal­ism.”

The aim was to take back power for “or­di­nary, work­ing­class peo­ple,” spokesper­son Em­i­lie Ra¯kete said.

“We live in a wealthy, se­cure coun­try. No­body should have to live in mouldy rentals that make them sick. No­body should have to scrape by on an un­live­able min­i­mum wage.

“New Zealan­ders are suf­fer­ing be­cause the rich con­trol the econ­omy. Or­gan­ise Aotearoa be­lieves that work­ers our­selves should con­trol the wealth we pro­duce. Aotearoa is a wealthy coun­try, and there is more than enough for ev­ery­body. Our goal is so­cial­ism, for the re­sources of this coun­try to be demo­crat­i­cally owned and con­trolled by work­ing peo­ple.”

It was not a par­lia­men­tary party, how­ever.

“We recog­nise that tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal struc­tures have failed,” Ms Ra¯kete added.

“The so-called ‘Labour’ Party cares more about pro­vid­ing low taxes for the wealthy than it does about pro­vid­ing de­cent wages and a high­qual­ity so­cial sup­port sys­tem. It doesn’t stand with work­ing peo­ple.

“We be­lieve a new world re­quires a new kind of politics. Or­gan­ise Aotearoa is a mass move­ment in which ev­ery­body is wel­come and any­body can play a part.”

Hui would be or­gan­ised around the coun­try over the next seven months to dis­cuss is­sues in­clud­ing hous­ing, work, jus­tice, and the en­vi­ron­ment.

“We want to hear from ev­ery­day New Zealan­ders about their strug­gles and their dreams for a more just, fair and equal so­ci­ety,” Ms Ra¯kete said.

Mem­ber­ship is now open to ev­ery­one who agreed with the kau­papa.

PICTURE / TOP EN­ERGY

Top En­ergy will in­stall two diesel gen­er­a­tors (like these at Taipa) at Omanaia over sum­mer, even­tu­ally mov­ing them to Kaitaia.

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