'Nightmare' for power trust over voting changes

More people will be able to vote to elect trustees on the Waitaki Power Trust, which owns North Otago electricity distribution lines company Network Waitaki.

The trust has been forced by the Commerce Amendment Act to make changes in its trust deed to the way elections are held for the five trustees, which trust chairwoman Helen Brookes said created "a nightmare".

Today the trust will hold its annual meeting in the Kingsgate Brydone Hotel.

Yesterday Dr Brookes said one of the issues which faced the trust during the past year was the new interpretation of the word "consumer" by the Commerce Commission.

This had a flow-on effect to those eligible to vote for trustees.

Elections are due in August.

Previously, only one consumer at a property with a Network Waitaki connection could vote.

The change in the definition of consumer meant anyone over the age of 18 at a property connected to the network could now vote.

That has resulted in considerable extra cost in preparing for trust elections, which will now be held every three years instead of every two.

Changes had to be made to the trust deed to accommodate the changes.

Dr Brookes said the trust had had to find a way to compile a list of voters.

It had to do that by imposing the Network Waitaki distribution area - from Shag Point to the Waitaki River and inland to Ohau, including the Hakataramea Valley - over an existing electoral roll such as that for the Waitaki District Council or the general election roll.

That was still being worked on.

Dr Brookes did not know how many extra voters there would be, but estimated the number could double.

The other issue was consumers, such as retail chains, who had connections but were outside the network area and would now be entitled to vote through a nominee.


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