Porirua schoolboy Jeremy Takao yesterday got face time with Prime Minister John Key but hold the Ministerial Inquiries - he didn't have to pay a cent.
The duo got to turn on an oversized ceremonial light switch to officially set the first turbines whirring at Meridian Energy's $169 million Mill Creek wind farm, more than two years after final resource consent was approved.
Six of the 26 turbines which will make up the wind farm at Ohariu Valley site, near Wellington, have so far been installed, with two now producing electricity.
Jeremy was selected by teachers at Russell School as the best overall student. With that honour came the chance to be the prime minister's mini-deputy.
The eight-year-old had no doubt about the importance of the wind farm. "It generates power and I use electricity."
Mill Creek would have a capacity of 59.8MW, increasing Meridian Energy's electricity produced by wind from about 10 to 12 per cent of its total annual production.
Combined with the neighbouring West Wind wind farm at Makara, it would produce the power required for all the homes in Wellington and most of Lower Hutt.
Meridian chief executive Mark Binns said Mill Creek was strategically significant for the company as it increased its North Island generation.
Demand for electricity was relatively flat in New Zealand. "But I'm sure the prime minister's rock star economy is going to see us have boosted demand in the future," he said.
Binns said Mill Creek was the 10th Meridian wind farm that it had developed or purchased and he expected it to be one of the most productive in the world.
The Government has a target of 90 per cent power generated from renewable resources by 2025. It had been running at 75 per cent.
All 26 turbines were expected to be competed in about three months.