A fallen power pole has electrocuted cattle on a Cricklewood Rd farm, near Wairoa.

Cricklewood Rd farmer Jean Martin said the power pole on the main line at the top of the road fell down, killing five heifers and one calf on a nearby farm.

It was a calm, fine day.

"This particular pole was replaced in July 2015 after a snowstorm. From the time it was replaced, it very quickly started to lean over," Martin said.


"This leaning has slowly got worse over the three years to the present, where it was almost horizontal.

"I am sure that Eastland Network people have made many trips up that road in that time, so they must have been fully aware of the problem.

"This makes me wonder about the maintenance of back country lines. When I was Federated Farmers Gisborne/Wairoa president, from 2004 to 2008, there was an open discussion from Eastland Network about the maintenance of these so-called "uneconomic lines".

"In fact, there was a suggestion from some directors as to whether they would cut some of these lines off.

"This did not happen, but I wonder how much money goes into the maintenance of these lines."

Martin said all farmers had great admiration for line workers, who went out in all weather and often at night to restore power after storms and other inclement weather.

"They are not the problem," she said.

"The fact is when this pole fell down, the farm owners did not notice it until they saw the dead cattle.


"This was only because they were coming home from town.

"If they had been in the paddock when the pole fell, the consequences could have been much worse.

"Because this pole had been leaning for so long, it can't be called a lack of maintenance. It has to be called sheer negligence."

Eastland Network general manager Brent Stewart said the pole was relatively new and in good condition.

"We believe the land moved, causing the pole to lean," Stewart said.

"As soon as the farmers contacted Eastland Network, we took immediate measures to secure the pole and restore safe ground clearance to the conductors.


"To finish this work, we need to turn off the power supply in the immediate area, and give electricity retailers 10 days' notice, so they can notify their customers."

The current plan was to undertake this work on Friday, Stewart said.

"Investing in essential infrastructure and upgrades is a fundamental part of maintaining a reliable power supply.

"Eastland Network's asset management plan is updated annually.

"This was an unfortunate incident and we have apologised directly to the affected farmers. We're also working through the compensation process for the lost cattle.

"The incident also highlights how important it is for everyone, from Eastland Network staff to farmers and members of the public, to keep an eye out for any potential issues."