One thing is guaranteed in the aftermath of Covid-19: Things are going to be different.
While many businesses and organisations are focused on just getting through the next few years, some are making big changes – not just for their customers, but the region at large.
Take the recent announcements from the Tauranga Energy Consumers Trust (TECT) as an example of this.
For context, if you are a Trustpower customer in Tauranga, you will likely receive a rebate cheque from TECT.
TECT is the second-largest shareholder of Trustpower. If Trustpower sells its retail business, then the local customers won't be Trustpower consumers, making them ineligible for the TECT cheque under the existing rules.
If TECT does not change its rules and Trustpower sells its retail business, then TECT, in effect, loses its beneficiaries.
In my opinion, TECT must do something to protect the cheque for the next 30 years, but what exactly?
TECT plays a significant role in our community through its regular distribution to Trustpower customers and its grants to community organisations.
TECT's proposal protects the cheque by ensuring current consumers maintain their current entitlements for the next 30 years, with similar conditions to what they have now.
TECT is proposing to provide Tauranga's next generation with an incredible asset of a wealthy community trust, which will benefit the Western Bay region in two ways.
Firstly, it will provide an investor for local projects that provide a commercial return. This will help keep money circulating through our economy, instead of profits going offshore.
Secondly, there will be an incredible amount of the new community trust's earnings distributed to support social and community initiatives.
We all know the stress placed on ratepayers to fund the growing needs of Tauranga, largely at the expense of saying no to many community assets and amenities.
I hope the Community Trust will take some stress off ratepayers, who are relied on to provide more community amenities as our long-term population trends are likely to continue to grow after Covid-19.
I believe future generations will thank us for creating the new Community Trust that supports our very valuable charities and invests in community amenities.
I think our TECT trustees have found the right balance to protect the cheque and make a game-changing move for our community.
I encourage you to read the information and send your feedback to TECT before Monday, March 22 2021.
- Matt Cowley is the chief executive for the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce