Social Sector Response to the TECT proposal to transfer the assets of the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust to the Tauranga Energy Charitable Trust

The social sector comprises approximately 260 organisations in the Western Bay of Plenty, all working to improve the well-being of individuals and families that are struggling with a range of issues such as isolation, poverty, mental illness, addiction, housing, food insecurity and many more.  The social sector identified lack of funding as one of the key issues they face, as reported in research SociaLink has undertaken with the social sector.

SociaLink held three meetings with the social sector and community organisations that deliver social outcomes, to raise awareness about the TECT proposal and to hear their views.  Based on feedback from these meetings, SociaLink prepared a draft social sector response and encouraged those who subscribe to our newsletter (approximately 1,000 organisations and individuals) to provide feedback.

On the basis of this feedback, Socialink can report that the social sector and community organisations that deliver social outcomes are broadly very supportive of the TECT proposal to transfer the assets of the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust to the Tauranga Energy Charitable Trust following the pay-out to TECT consumers outlined in the proposal.  The sector recognises the huge value these funds will have for everyone in our community by way of increased services and community facilities.

Given the considerable increase in funds to distribute, questions were asked regarding the way in which the funds would be distributed.  In light of this, it was suggested that an option TECT may wish to consider is to review the process for election of Trustees,  and in particular to consider

  • an increase in the number of Trustees
  • appointments onto the Board to ensure Trustees are demographically representative of the community and/or of the sectors that are recipients of TECT grants.

Concern was expressed by the social sector as to how to best support TECT consumers who genuinely require the TECT cheque to pay for basic living expenses.  It was acknowledged that budget advisory services and the like are available to assist TECT consumers to effectively use the cheques they receive from TECT; and to assist TECT consumers to ensure they are using the most suitable electricity provider taking into account their circumstances.

Liz Davies

General Manager, SociaLink