Wealthier areas of Auckland traditionally have a much higher voter turnout than other parts of Auckland benefiting C&R (National Party aligned candidates) in the Entrust Election. The daily voting document returns as at 19 October showed the Remuera area at 11.5% compared to the area around Manukau at just over 6%. Fortunately there is still time to vote. There are important community issues at stake.
“While the political focus is currently on the unprecedented turbulence coming from the National Party and the Botany Electorate, the Entrust trustee election has been underway in Auckland with important issues at stake says Peter Neilson economist, former Labour cabinet minister and City Vision for Entrust Campaign Team Leader. The South Auckland turnout for the Entrust election, to elect 5 new trustees will probably determine who will win control of Entrust. Entrust (formerly known as the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust) holds 75.1% of the shares in Vector the Auckland electricity lines company on behalf of consumers.
There are 302,000 people eligible to vote in the Entrust election but last time fewer than 13% voted.The first voting figures available point to a higher turnout this time but the turnout in South Auckland currently lags the more prosperous parts of Auckland.
If you are the person whose name is first on the power bill living in the old Auckland or Manukau cities or the northern parts of Takanini, Papakura and Franklin you are eligible to vote in the Entrust trustee election.
If you recently received the $350 dividend (annual payment) you are the one in your household eligible to vote. Your voting papers should have arrived in the mail by last weekend.
To have your vote counted you need to post back your completed voting papers now (and in the post box no later that Tuesday 23 October)
There are a number of very good reasons to vote for a change in this election.
C&R (National and ACT) trustees have held all five trustee positions for the last 9 years
Over the last 3 years while the current all C&R trustees have been in place;
- the $350 annual payment has not kept up with price rises so now buys less,
- the trustees have allowed Vector to cut the budget for undergrounding, the poles and wires that are an eyesore, and are vulnerable in storms, causing power cuts, and
- when the April storms occurred cutting power to 200,000 Aucklanders the current trustees made no media comment and did not even seek a review to see if Vector’s power supply could be made more reliable and future recoveries faster
There is also a live proposal confirmed by the Chair of Vector, the NBR and The Australian newspapers that the UBS merchant bank wants to introduce a buyer to purchase the Vector’s Auckland electricity network. Privatisation would likely cut or eliminate the current $350 annual payment as under the Entrust trust deed it is the Auckland Council that has a claim on the proceeds from a sale of Vector not the recipients of the annual payment.
While this has all been occurring the trustees have been fighting amongst themselves, one even taking another trustee to court while another one, has accused their Chair of “bullying” and also of acting “unprofessionally” when the long-term Chair of Vector Mike Stiassny was fired.
Unsurprisingly the existing trustees seeking re-election have recently declined media interviews.
The City Vision (Labour and Green) Entrust trustee candidates including Robert Reid from South Auckland are pledged to;
- Protect and enhance the annual $350 payment by, opposing any form of Vector privatisation and by reviewing the operations of both Vector and Entrust.
- Accelerate the undergrounding programme and investigating new ways to fund that work to improve the urban environment, enhance safety and prevent power cuts.
- Address energy poverty including looking to see if the annual $350 payment can be paid earlier and closer to the time the big winter power bill arrives, to help the most vulnerable.
- Work to ensure qualified people are appointed to the Vector board and Entrust that also better reflect the diversity of Auckland.
The City Vision Team of Glenda Fryer, Richard Leckinger, Simon Mitchell, Peter Neilson and Robert Reid will stand up for all consumers across Auckland including the South. We want to put the consumer and trust back into Entrust. It’s time for a change of trustees at the trust.
A lift in the voter turnout across South Auckland would change the Entrust trustees from all C&R to better reflect the interests of all Aucklanders. Please vote now.