Hawke's Bay Power Consumers Trust candidate profile - Kevin Atkinson

Throughout my career I have been focused on community involvement and supporting Hawke's Bay people, local businesses and not for profit organisations.

I have a passion for making a positive contribution and serving the community and utilising my experience and knowledge.

As a long standing board member and chairman of Unison I have first-hand knowledge of how the business is structured and performs and I see the opportunity of maximising the role of the HB Power Consumers' Trust.

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Firstly, it is important to set the record straight.

As a power consumer, you are a shareholder and you will get your dividend cheque - that is a promise. This year it was $200 and I will endeavour to see this grow in future years.

I'm also committing to a review of the remuneration of trustees. The chair position is paid $44,000 pa while the four other trustees are paid $22,000 pa each. On top of this the trustees are paid a meeting fee of $80 and in the last year they held 15 meetings.

I believe the remuneration is excessive, as are the number of meetings.

I also want to see the trust consult with consumers about the additional $2 million the current trustees have decided to forgo which is being spent on underground cabling ($1.7m this year) and on energy efficiency projects ($382,000).

In effect, as a consumer and shareholder your current dividend is being short-changed by $40.

Presently you are paid your dividend by cheque. This is an old archaic way of being paid and some cheques actually never get banked.

There are now modern ways of being paid such as online banking. I also think there is an opportunity for consumers to get a credit on their current power account.

If elected I want to consult with power consumers on:

1. Reviewing trustee remuneration - which I believe is excessive
2. Reviewing how the dividend is paid, ie. cheque, direct credit or a credit on the consumer's power account
3. Using any additional profits from Unison's unregulated business activities to be put aside into a charitable fund to benefit the consumers.
4. Ensuring that Unison continues to perform strongly - which provides the opportunity for a greater dividend.