Vital Cook Strait Cables must be protected

03 July 2015
Transpower today said that two recent prosecutions over fishing activities in the Cook
Strait Cable Protection Zone (CPZ) reinforce the importance of the High Voltage
Direct Current (HVDC) Cook Strait Cable.
The CPZ protects vital submarine electricity and telecommunication cable links
between the North and South Islands. The cables form part of the HVDC inter-island
link which transfers power between the North and the South Island.
Activities such as fishing and anchoring are prohibited in the CPZ to protect the
cables under the Submarine Cables and Pipelines Protection Act 1996. The penalty
for breaching the Act can result in fines of up to $250,000, as well as forfeiture of the
HVDC & Power Electronics Manager Ricky Smith said that protecting the submarine
cables of the HVDC inter-island link is critical to ensuring a secure supply of
electricity in both the North and South Islands.
"The HVDC link moves power between islands. It can provide up to 40% of the
electricity load for the North Island, or it can provide electricity to the South Island if
needed, for example in dry years when the hydro lakes are low and North Island
generation is needed to cover South Island electricity demand."
“The CPZ is in place to ensure that this critical piece of national infrastructure is kept
safe. We encourage people to take time and familiarise themselves with the CPZ
protection zone prohibition, before fishing in the Cook Strait, and also ensure that
their navigational tools onboard are sufficient,” he said.
The reminder comes following two recent cases where convictions were secured: the
first where the master of an inshore trawler negligently conducted a fishing activity
inside the CPZ, and the second involving a recreational runabout moored in the CPZ
under the belief that this activity would not cause damage. Both prosecutions
resulted in significant penalties.
“Luckily no damage occurred in either incident, however if the cables had been
impacted we estimate the cost to New Zealand could have been as much as $60m
and caused significant disruption to power and communications systems,” Smith
said. “Education is key and we are happy to provide any information for those fishing
or boating in the Cook Strait if they are unsure of the CPZ boundaries.”
More information for mariners, fishers, divers and the public can be found at

For further information, please contact:

Trudy Shannon, Senior Corporate Communications Advisor, 04 590 6726 or 021 835


Transpower media release.pdf [ pdf 38.3 KB ]