18 Feb 2010

Govt will not be held to ransom over pylons - Brownlee

3:33 pm on 18 February 2010

Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government will not be held to ransom by a small group of farmers who are threatening to lock out Transpower.

Some farmers have given the national grid operator a week to come up with a compensation agreement or be prevented from accessing pylons on their land.

Transpower is upgrading 20 pylons in South Canterbury as part of the Roxburgh-Islington line which supplies Christchurch.

However, Mr Brownlee told Morning Report he is disappointed with the attitude of the farmers.

He said the Government has only just been given a report by Federated Farmers on the pylon issue and won't be rushed into making a decision.

Meanwhile, Federated Farmers says it will act as an electricity peacemaker between Transpower and South Canterbury farmers.

The federation says the fact the farmers are prepared to engage in protest and risk arrest, emphasises their sense of grievance.

It hopes common sense will prevail at a meeting with Transpower on Thursday morning.