Waikato farmer Steve Meier isn’t the best advertisement for landowners in the debate with Transpower over pylons on their land.
Auckland lost power for several hours and if reports are correct, his actions may have been at least in part to blame.
But moving from the details of that farm and that farmer, to the general principle, do farmers have a point in the on-going debate with Transpower?
It is the luck of the draw that the pylons are on their land and that more will come in the planned $830m network upgrade. Like the homeowners who will be uprooted by the Waterview Connection roading project, the farmers are paying the price of living in the middle of the route to the future; unlike the homeowners, they are not entitled to compensation, which is hardly unfair, since their actual loss is minimal.
But it’s not the actual loss that’s in question. It’s property rights.
If any landowner has to put up with other people, or the state, doing or putting things on their property, it compromises their property rights, regardless of whether it’s a quarter acre section in town or several thousand acres in the country.