To cheque or not to cheque - that is the question being asked by the debate on whether to say yes or no to the TECT proposal.

In one corner we have the status quo who say no to the proposal and have questioned the motives behind the TECT decision and in the other, are the kaitiaki (caretakers) of the community who have come up with an opportunity to put the putea or profit of Trustpower back into the backyard of our city.

While one is saying yes to profit, the other seems to be saying power to the people and if we as a community standing in the middle of this debate stay focused on measuring success by money and not mana, then in my opinion we will all be the more poorer for it.

As for those 30,000-odd power subscribers who are not TrustPower consumers in Tauranga they are on a win-win if the TECT proposal goes through as the extra $100 million of community funding over five years generated from the new TECT proposal will go straight into their own backyards.


Perhaps it is time we heard from them via letters and korero to their local communities?

To say this issue has raised the temperature in the Trustpower boardroom and exposed the awkward Infratil elephant sitting quietly nervous in the corner - with their 51 per cent shareholding, is akin to ignoring the difference climate change has made to the last sizzling summer.

It's hotter than a hangi stone right now in the Trustpower boardroom and in my opinion it is going to take a lot to cool things down.

Personally I have sat down for a korero with Vince Hawkesworth, the chief executive of Trustpower and I honestly believe he has a heart for the community of Tauranga Moana.

Just like all chief executives whoare answerable to their shareholders and not their own conscience or community.

So here's the thing for my minuscule shareholding in Trustpower as one of 65,000 subscribers to their services.

Firstly, what has Infratil ever done for the wellbeing of Tauranga and the wider Western Bay region given they have reaped the benefits of our loyalty to their cheque-generated cash cow with their majority shareholding ?

And then secondly what has TECT done with their 26.8 shareholding?

It is easy for the legion of Trustpower letter writers and ex-board members to come out and support saying no to the TECT proposal, they can afford to. My question to them is how hands-on are they to helping serve the needs of the community when it comes to rolling up your sleeves and helping with those in need, especially the homeless?

And I am not talking a couple of cans dropped off at Foodbank here.

I have yet to see any of the names mentioned supporting the say no campaign on our doorstep offering help, yet they question the integrity and kaupapa of the TECT board members who have been ever present everywhere all of the time I have been involved with the homeless over the last seven years.

In a pipi shell here's a pathway forward for those sitting on the fence wanting to make sure our community and not just individuals are best served by the future direction of TECT

Say yes to the TECT proposal and have a great Christmas just like the shareholders of Trustpower, especially Infratil have been having on your behalf for many years.

Then take the next three years of cheques and after that assess how much you are paying for your power.

If it is still too much then change if there is no change.

Then enjoy alongside the rest of us kaitiaki of our community, the huge increase in available funds to keep our community growing stronger safer and healthier.

Or say no to TECT and watch what could have been.


In the meantime it will put the torch back on Trustpower where it should be.

Power to the people

Tommy Wilson is a local writer and best selling author who runs a social service Trust supporting the homeless in Tauranga