The five Entrust trustees will decide on whether the privatisation of Vector goes ahead and vote on a new chairman following the ousting of Michael Stiassny but the C&R (National and ACT) candidates have remained silent throughout the campaign even refusing media interviews. Voting documents now need to be posted to arrive by 5pm on election day Friday 26 October.
“C&R are relying on a low voter turnout to continue plans to privatise Vector. It is unacceptable that C&R has continued to spin the line that voting for them equals a $350 pay-out without fronting up throughout the whole campaign to explain their policies that actually put this annual payment at risk” says City Vision for Entrust team leader and former cabinet minister Peter Neilson.
“There is a current proposal confirmed by the Chair of Vector, the NBR, and The Australian 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”.
C&R 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 buys less having fallen behind prices,
- the trustees let Vector cut the budget for undergrounding, leaving 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 took no action to see if Vector’s power supply could be made more reliable and future recoveries faster.
While this has all been occurring the trustees have been fighting amongst themselves. One even taking another trustee to court and another one, has accused their Entrust Chair of “bullying” and of acting in an “unprofessional” manner when the long-term Chair of Vector Michael Stiassny was fired.
Only the City Vision (Labour and Green) Entrust trustee candidates Glenda Fryer, Richard Leckinger, Simon Mitchell, Peter Neilson and Robert Reid 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, closer to the time the big winter power bill arrives, to help the most vulnerable.
- Work to ensure people who understand Auckland are appointed to the Vector board and Entrust who also better reflect the diversity of Auckland.
“Only the City Vision Team is standing on policies that will ensure Vector is not privatised and the annual payment is safe. This has been the most bizarre election I have experienced, the C&R trustees seeking re-election refuse to be interviewed or debate their record and policy” “The only defence against such arrogance is to make sure more of us vote in the Entrust election so they get the message” says Mr Neilson.