Many of Wānaka’s loved local organisations are direct recipients of the Central Lakes Trust — an organisation that has handed out over $99 million in grants back into the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes community since its inception in 2000.
Chances are, the voting papers to choose who hands this money out, are probably sitting on your kitchen bench right now. The Central Lakes Trust asks that you don’t ignore them.
The trust’s origins hail from the Energy Companies Act of 1992, and the Electricity Industry Reform Act of 1998, requiring power boards to be incorporated, allowing communities to determine how the shares in the new energy companies were held.
Many communities, including Central Lakes allocated shares into a trust. While many trusts retained their lines business, with the 1998 reforms, Otago Central Electric Power Trust sold their lines business and retained the generation business (now Pioneer Energy), bestowing these in Central Lakes Trust. The trust’s purpose is to make a positive, lasting contribution to the community by supporting charitable projects throughout Central Lakes.
Central Lakes Trust’s funding region spans most of Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes.
Having invested wisely over the years, the trust has grown its asset base from $155m to assets totaling $400m, including 100 percent ownership of Pioneer Energy Ltd, which drives an annual grants budget of approximately $9 million.
Every three years, the community get to vote on who will be elected to represent them and serve on the Board of the trust. Comprised of five publicly elected alongside three appointed trustees, this year will see considerable change in the board, as four trustees are mandated to retire, having served nine years. A record 25 candidates from across the region have been nominated to stand, the largest number since the trust’s commencement.
“The impact our growing population and demographics place, means we must ensure an understanding of community need rather than demand, and respond accordingly in terms of being fiscally responsible with community money. Our trustees need to be in touch with the contemporary needs of our community. Now more than ever, it is important that our community votes,” states chief executive, Susan Finlay.
Voting commenced on October 31 and closes midday November 22, 2019. Voting documents will be mailed to all qualified electors by Tuesday November 5, 2019.