Cen­tral Lakes Trust sup­port threat­ened

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

Cen­tral Lakes Trust’s abil­ity to sup­port com­mu­ni­ties is un­der threat, with pro­posed electricity re­forms that will force small lo­cal gen­er­a­tors to shut down.

Pi­o­neer En­ergy, owned by Cen­tral Lakes Trust, was one of sev­eral lo­cal gen­er­a­tors rep­re­sented at a pub­lic meet­ing in Cromwell on Fri­day.

Since the trust’s in­cep­tion in 2000, it has dis­trib­uted more than $78 mil­lion of grants from its in­vest­ment port­fo­lio and div­i­dends into a wide range of com­mu­nity projects and ser­vices around the Cen­tral Lakes area.

Chair of Cen­tral Lakes Trust Mal­colm Macpher­son said the fi­nan­cial im­pact of the Electricity Au­thor­ity’s cur­rent pro­pos­als could po­ten­tially af­fect Pi­o­neer’s bot­tom-line and they were con­tin­u­ing to seek in­for­ma­tion from Pi­o­neer on the po­ten­tial im­pact.

Pi­o­neer En­ergy chair Stu­art Heal said Pi­o­neer En­ergy owned 14 lo­cal power sta­tions in the greater Cen­tral Otago re­gion, and Pi­o­neer’s div­i­dend to the trust that helped sup­port projects in the com­mu­nity was now un­der ‘‘real threat’’.

‘‘If th­ese changes are im­ple­mented com­pletely as drafted, then this div­i­dend is un­der real threat. In our sub­mis­sions to the au­thor­ity, among other ideas we have sug­gested some form of grad­ual im­ple­men­ta­tion. To have such a com­plete re­ver­sal in nine years is just sim­ply im­pos­si­ble for us to man­age. If suc­cess­ful, it will be a ma­jor blow to re­gional New Zealand. In to­tal, lo­cal gen­er­a­tors pro­vide about 10 per cent of the coun­try’s electricity and the au­thor­ity has openly stated that through this process they would ex­pect 40 per cent of the lo­cal gen­er­a­tors not to sur­vive.’’

Cen­tral Otago mayor Tony Lep­per said the re­gion was well served by Pi­o­neer En­ergy and it was a star per­former in the lo­cal econ­omy.

‘‘I just can see the re­ac­tion in our com­mu­nity if Cen­tral Lakes Trust loses a whole lot of fund­ing...We need them. We need the peo­ple they em­ploy and we need the div­i­dends they re­turn to our com­mu­nity. Any­thing that puts those un­der threat is worth us stand­ing up for and fight­ing for. That is what Cen­tral Otago does.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.