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Meridian Energy continuing to negotiate with landowners

Meridian Energy is continuing to negotiate with landowners in the lower Waitaki valley over the acquisition of land for its proposed Project Aqua hydro-electricity scheme.

“We are committed to working through the issues with each landowner so that fair and reasonable agreements can be reached,” says Tim Allan, Land and Finance Manager for Project Aqua.

Meridian Energy is seeking to acquire land on a reasonable commercial basis, as it is legally required to do as a state-owned enterprise. This has included making offers at above market rates for the land required for Project Aqua.

So far Meridian Energy has acquired more than 60 percent of the 1482 hectares required for Project Aqua. The ongoing negotiations for the remainder of the land are with a group of fewer than 16 private landowners.

As is normal practice during land negotiations, sometimes agreements are made and then withdrawn or lapse if conditions are not met.

“There is nothing unusual in this,” says Tim Allan.

“I want to stress that our preference has been, and will continue to be, for agreed settlements with all of the landowners, and we are confident that we can achieve this.”

Meridian Energy is now a Requiring Authority, which gives the company the right to designate land use in Council plans and compulsorily acquire land.

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