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