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Energy Minister David Parker has accused National leader John Key of giving different positions on the Waikato power lines upgrade to different audiences.
A Resource Management Act board of inquiry into the $683m plan for 200km of 70m-high pylons to run a 400kv line from Whakamaru to Auckland is under way.
Power authorities say the lines are necessary to guarantee the supply of power to Auckland in future years, but they have been vehemently opposed by farmers along the route, who have formed a lobby group New Era Energy.
The group has applied for a judicial review of a first-step approval of the lines upgrade.
Mr Parker today released an internal email from the group which appeared to show Mr Key hedging his bets over whether National would scrap the proposed lines upgrade.
It said "while he made no promises" he was sympathetic.
"John made the comment that winning the JR (judicial review) and a change of government would be the only way to stop it, so here is hoping we get both."
A spokesman for Mr Key reiterated to NZPA that Mr Key has promised the group nothing.
Mr Parker said he was leaving the prospect of scrapping the upgrade open, which was a different message from what he had been telling Auckland businesses which were clamouring for the upgrade.
He said Mr Key liked to tell different audiences what they wanted to hear.