Strengthening the ‘Tree Regulations’ to improve resilience of electricity supply

Submissions closed: 05 May 2023, 5pm

MBIE is seeking feedback on proposed amendments to the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003.

The Regulations cover the trimming of trees near power lines, and aim to protect the security of New Zealand’s electricity supply and keep the public safe.

The purpose of the Regulations is to provide clarity on the rights and responsibilities of those who own vegetation, such as trees and plants, and ‘works’ owners, such as electricity line owners or operators, where trees and electricity lines share space.

Electricity lines and transmission infrastructure are a critical part of the transition to a low emissions future, by ensuring electricity is reliably transported to where it needs to be. The interaction of vegetation with power lines can increase the risk of electricity outages, damage electricity lines, create fire hazards, and become a safety risk to the public.

Throughout its Review of the current Regulations, MBIE has engaged with key stakeholders in the two main affected groups (vegetation owners and works owners) to identify opportunities to make improvements. Stakeholder proposals have been considered and incorporated into the list of wider possible options set out in the discussion document.

The current Regulations are seen as ineffective and inefficient by works owners in achieving its purpose. Vegetation owners consider that the Trees Regulations are working reasonably well, although some of them consider that the existing regulatory settings already overly benefit the works owners.

The discussion document proposes options for amending the Regulations to improve the resilience of the electricity network and prepare Aotearoa New Zealand for a changing climate, and seeks feedback from the public and stakeholders on MBIE’s preferred options.

Last updated: 11 April 2023