Meridian Energy is suspending land access negotiations for its 260MW North Bank project, located on the north bank of the Waitaki River in New Zealand.

Meridian had secured water use consents for the project from the Environment Court in November 2010 and has since been negotiating with landowners for land use consents.

Meridian chief executive Mark Binns revealed that the project was planned for the long-term project with significant progress made in negotiations with most of the landowners along the proposed project route.

"We’ve made a decision to suspend the land negotiations because of the current flat demand for electricity, which means fewer new generation projects will be required in the short to medium term," Binns said.

The project is expected to be picked up for development, at a later date when new generation will be required.

"Like other generators we recognise that the demand outlook for the next five years is probably flat to slightly declining," added Binns.

The North Bank project was expected to produce enough electricity to power 140,000 homes in the country.