City Council Ripping Off Christchurch People With "Secret Electricity Deal"

  • David Carter
Associate Minister for Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control

"Today's revelation in the NZ Herald of the "sweet heart deal" by the Christchurch City Council should concern every Christchurch power consumer facing a 13 percent price rise, says the MP for Banks Peninsula, Hon David Carter.

"Christchurch residents have been subsidising the City Council's power rate without even knowing they had been asked to. The City Council has stolen by stealth from its local people."

It was revealed in the NZ Herald today that the City Council pays only 0.52c a unit to Trans Alta for water supply operations and 4.049c per unit for public outside lighting. Cheap rates over three years were demanded by the City Council as part of the deal to sell South Power to Trans Alta last year.

In contrast the average Christchurch residential consumer pays around 12.2c per unit for their power.

Mr Carter said he was shocked Mayor Garry Moore had been critical of the Government's electricity reforms, "when he has now been found guilty of using the system surreptitiously for the Council's own advantage, but to the disadvantage of all other Christchurch electricity users".

"I would like the Council to explain how they can justify using Christchurch people to subsidise their cheap power after $171 million was obtained for the sale of South Power."

"The City Council knew they were toying with a difficult legal and ethical situation; that's why they called in an expensive lawyer to guide them when making this "secret deal. Concerns still remain however that they abused their position in setting up this contract."

Mr Carter said the City Council claimed frequently enough they were a Council with a social conscience, yet the sale of South Power had actually disadvantaged local families struggling to pay their power bills.

"When many other retail power companies were sold last year, the purchase agreements included a freeze on power prices for householders for up to three years. Christchurch City Council did not demand such an agreement for Christchurch people - why?"

"I demand today that the Christchurch City Council fronts up to these questions. They have got away with hiding this situation for too long," says Mr Carter.