David Fisher in the HoS reports:
Voters deciding who will handle their shares in a $2 billion electricity asset were paid $320 by sitting trustees just weeks before they sent out ballot papers seeking re-election.
The payment notice went out two weeks ago with the line: “The power is in your hands.” It carried the names of the five candidates standing for re-election to the board.
Present trust chairman William Cairns said the timing was not the fault of the trustees and instead relied on receiving money from Vector.
“All we can do is, through our channels, to ask Vector to pay the dividend a little bit earlier.”
Once the money had been received, he said the deed which established the trust forced the payment to be made in a specific time frame. …
The five incumbent trustees are all standing on a Communities and Residents ticket. They are opposed by five linked to the Green Party and Labour under the banner Your Power Team.
Accountant and management consultant David Shand said the trust had become a “gravy train”. He said the dividend should not be paid right before the election and questioned the large advertising campaign which went with it.
First of all. I think as with general elections there should be a period of no advertising (except that paid for by candidates).
But in general terms how is the Trust sending out dividends just before the trust election, any different to what Labour did in 2008 by having tax cuts come in just a few weeks before the 2008 election?
Or Labour announcing interest free student loans just before the 2005 election?
So I agree the Trust itself should not advertise just before the election. But overall the story sounds like Labour and Greens just trying to get a free hit in.