Report admitted as evidence but withdrawn by appellant

The admission of further evidence on New Zealand's electricity industry was approved during the Project Hayes wind farm hearing on Thursday - and the evidence was then withdrawn.

Appellant Roch Sullivan interrupted proceedings to make an application for an "Electricity Commission" report to be considered by the court, and used in cross-examination of a witness.

Mr Sullivan said the 59-page report had been released by the Electricity Commission this week, and related to evidence being given by London professor Goran Strbac, on the logistics of integrating wind-generated electricity into the country's transmission network.

"The report is on how New Zealand can cope with dry years. It included eight recommendations, not one of which suggest wind is the answer. Prof Strbac and the parties should be given time to read the report and any parties should be able to cross-examine the professor on the report and any comments he may have on it," Mr Sullivan said.

In his written evidence, Prof Strbac said wind-generated electricity would be relatively cheap to integrate into New Zealand's transmission system, and would be complemented by the flexibility of existing hydro generation. He had taken dry years into account, when less water was available for hydro generation.

Appellant Ewan Carr supported Mr Sullivan's application, and appellant counsel Mike Holm said if relevant, the report should be considered.

Meridian counsel Hugh Rennie QC said Mr Sullivan had not given any notice of his intention to make the application, and therefore Meridian was not prepared.

"Mr Sullivan's assumptions of the report may or may not be correct, I have not had a chance to read it. It's entirely premature to presume that there's anything in the report that should be put to the professor," he said.

Judge Jon Jackson said the report may not be relevant, although he granted the application on a limited basis by asking Prof Strbac to read the report and inform the court whether it had any bearing on his evidence.

"My gut feeling is it's highly likely to be irrelevant," Judge Jackson said.

Less than one hour later, Mr Sullivan told the court he had reviewed the report, and did not have any questions to put to Prof Strbac. "I apologise, this morning I came straight from the photo-copiers to the court . . . without reading the entire document."

After seeing the report, Mr Rennie said it was not produced by the Electricity Commission, but was instead an "external review which did not represent the views of the commission".

Judge Jackson gave back his copy of the report to indicate it had not formally been produced as evidence.


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