Just seen a press release from Gerry Brownlee highlighting an affadavit (in a court case over power pylons) from the former Chairman of the Electricity Commission, Roy Hemmingway. The Commission was set up by the Labour Government and Hemmingway hand picked to be its first Chair. Hemmingway has a Yale Doctorate in Law.and has 30 years experience in utlility regulation. What has he said in his affadavit?
Well he praises Pete Hodgson for not interfering and especially praises Trevor Mallard as very competent and diligent. It is when Parker took over, that we saw intererence. There is a growing pattern here, and in hindsight it is becoming clear Parker was promoted too quickly and not briefed on appropriate boundaries.
Hemmingway swears in his affadavit how Parker was engaged in a level of detail inappropriate for a Minister and that he was trying to circumvent the public input process.
Cullen is also referenced:
Michael Cullen started the meeting by saying that if anyone ever asked that this meeting had occured, he would deny it.
I hope a journalist asks Dr Cullen whether or not he did have such a meeting. Do remember this is a sworn affadavit.
Then we have the illegal instruction from Parker:
The Minister stated we should defer to Transpower’s expertise on technical matters. Notably this comment was completely out of line with the requirements of the Electricity Governance rules, which require the Commission to make independent judgements following its own evaluation of the technical material.
Go read the affadavit to see who bad it was. Also the exhibits.
The whole point of having independent regulators is so decisions are not just made by who has lobbied the Minister the hardest. If the Minister wants to personally approve proposals, then he should say he is doing so and take the responsibility for them. But to have an independent regulator which you try and turn into a rubberstamp is a serious breach of the purpose of having them independent.
Since then the Minister has filled the Electricity Commission up with Labour loyalists so there is no chance it won’t go along with the Minister again. The Commission has four or five out of six Labour people on it. It is one thing to have one or two maybe but this is totally stacked.
Caygill and Rodger are former Labour Ministers. Peter Harris is ex CTU and worked for Cullen for many years. Linda Constable was a City Councillor on the Labour aligned 2021 ticket and David Bull is a former Wellington City and Regional Councillor and I think (can’t find a reference) stood on the Labour ticket. Only one of the six Commissioners is definitely not aligned with Labour, and it is meant to be an independent regulator!
UPDATE: A reader says they are almost certain David Bull was not a Labour Councillor. So that is 4/6 not 5/6.