We support the establishment of an advisory council. However, it is crucial that this council has ‘teeth’, and is able to independently and effectively represent the diverse consumer voice to various stakeholders and sectors.
We strongly advocate that representation on this council should cover the broad spectrum of New Zealand society – from those representing more vulnerable consumers, through to those representing other general groups of our society. We recommend that a sufficient number of advocates from the NGO sector are appointed to this council to represent these consumers.
We believe that this council should be clearly weighted towards the real consumer voice. This council, as per the EPR Options Paper, is for the consumer voice. Whilst there are diverse types of consumer voices e.g. small business, residential customers etc., we do not want this council to be captured by the power companies. It is a consumer council and the representatives here should be overwhelmingly being from recognised consumer groups.