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E tu says transmission cost proposal could decimate regional jobs

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

E tū says hundreds of jobs will be at risk if proposed changes to transmission lines charges go ahead.

The Electricity Authority proposes moving to a user pays model, where power users further away from power generators pay more for power.

Currently, transmission costs are spread evenly across all users.

E tÅ«’s Industry Co-ordinator Engineering and Infrastructure, Ron Angel says Norske Skog fears for the future of its mill at Kawerau if these changes proceed.

He says many other mills in regional New Zealand will also be affected, including the Kinleith timber mill where E tū has 286 members, as well as key mills in Northland.

NZ Steel also estimates the change will cost its Glenbrook steel mill an extra $10 million a year.

He says these mills provide well-paid, quality jobs and are crucial to the health of their local communities.

"This proposal could jeopardise the economic health of regional New Zealand. The Authority is risking high value productive regional industries, as well as the local businesses which rely on the income of their workers", he says.

"Until now, everyone has shared the cost of paying for key infrastructure like transmission costs, in the same way tax payers share the cost of essential services like hospitals and schools.

"We see no reason why that should change", he says.

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