30 August 2018

City Vision says elect a united team to protect your dividend and stop further sell down of shares

City Vision, a coalition of Labour, Green and community independents, has formed a ticket to change the trustees at Entrust and clean up the current mess.

Entrust, formerly known as the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust, is a trust for Auckland electricity consumers formed in 1993 as part of the then-government’s electricity reforms. It is an elected trust and owns 75.1% of Vector.  Elections for Entrust’s five Trustees are due to take place on 26 October.

“The current five Entrust trustees, all C&R, are fighting amongst themselves, rather than working together to protect your annual $350 dividend and improve the resilience of the electricity supply across Auckland” says City Vision for Entrust campaign spokesperson, candidate and former cabinet minister Peter Neilson.

“While the Chair of Entrust and his supporters deny it, Vector Chair Michael Stiassny – who they are dumping – says they plan to sell down the remaining 75.1% shareholding Entrust holds in Vector. You will recall the previous National Government sold down the public shareholding in the electricity companies we owned to 51%.

“Whatever the situation, Entrust is a mess and it needs to be cleaned up.

“A current Entrust trustee and two Vector directors have been dumped to enable a further sell down to occur in the next three years. One current trustee has gone to court to challenge another trustee’s eligibility to serve on Entrust. This infighting and lack of focus has to stop because the competitive nature of the energy business is changing fast which puts future dividends at risk”.

Their disarray means the current Trustees have failed to:

  • Ensure Vector maintains a secure power supply to consumers
  • Consult with the community
  • Prepare appropriately for a rapidly changing competitive environment.

The trust receives an annual dividend from Vector and distributes it to consumers. There is no evidence the current Entrust trustees have added value to Vector’s performance.

City Vision policy:

  • Opposing any proposal to sell down the Entrust 75.1% shareholding in Vector or to cut or remove the dividend you receive.
  • Appointing qualified directors to Vector that better reflect the diversity of Auckland and are able and committed to maintaining the dividend paid annually.
  • Seeking independent advice on how to:
    • ensure Vector remains profitable
    • make Auckland’s electricity supply more resilient,
    • deal with a rapidly changing competitive environment,
    • accelerate the current undergrounding program,
    • ensure our interests as investors, consumers and the community can be appropriately balanced.
  • Using that advice combined with regular consultation with and polling of our community, to build a shared vision of the future between Entrust trustees, Vector directors and our dividend recipients.
  • After a year to assess the relative workloads of Trustees we will review the $343,000 in director’s fees paid annually to the trustees with the aim of reducing the total amount paid.

Joining Mr Neilson as candidates are local board member Glenda Fryer, renewables expert Richard Leckinger, prominent barrister Simon Mitchell, and former FIRST Union secretary Robert Reid.

“It is time for a group of trustees who will work positively together acting in the best interests of consumers to maintain and protect the annual dividend. A vote for the City Vision candidates is a vote to put the trust back into Entrust,” says Mr Neilson.

Entrust elections

Voting is by postal ballot with voting papers delivered from Thursday 11 October 2018 and to be received by the Returning Officer before 5pm Friday 26 October 2018.  In general terms voting papers go to those with a power account in Auckland, Manukau, northern Papakura and eastern Franklin (the old AEPB area).

Contacts:

Peter Neilson 021 395 891 peter@neilson.net.nz

Robert Gallagher 021 365 551 rrgallagher@actrix.co.nz

Candidate profiles