CLT chair­man de­fends move

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

The com­mu­nity will not lose any­thing from pro­posed changes to the Cen­tral Lakes Trust board struc­ture, but gain ex­per­tise and knowl­edge, the board chair says.

Dr Mal­colm Macpher­son said the pro­posal the board was tak­ing to the com­mu­nity was ‘‘the best of both worlds – com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tion, plus ex­pert ad­vice, mak­ing the best pos­si­ble de­ci­sions’’.

He was re­spond­ing to crit­i­cisms raised by for­mer chair Peter Mead, who has called the pro­posed changes a ‘‘cal­lous at­tack on the very core of democ­racy’’ and the role of the board was one of over­sight only.

Cur­rently, the trust was wholly made up of six pub­licly elected trustees stand­ing for a max­i­mum of three terms of three years. The pro­posed changes in­clude ap­point­ing three trustees, whose terms would be stag­gered, along­side five pub­licly elected trustees.

‘‘To­day’s Cen­tral Lakes Trust is quite dif­fer­ent to the trust chaired by Peter Mead all those years ago. We can’t be hands-off man­agers, leav­ing key strate­gic in­vest­ment de­ci­sions to oth­ers, as Peter seems to sug­gest we should. Nor should we back away from our own­er­ship re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for Pioneer En­ergy Ltd.

‘‘Cen­tral Lakes Trust has grown to be­come the largest phil­an­thropic trust fund on a per capita ba­sis in the South­ern Hemi­sphere. The to­tal value of the trust’s in­vest­ment fund has grown to more than $325 mil­lion and is ex­pected to grow to $500 mil­lion by 2025. Over time, the di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion, scale and com­plex­ity of the trust’s in­vest­ment port­fo­lio has in­ten­si­fied, and we in­creas­ingly need trustees who can bring ap­pro­pri­ate ex­per­tise to our de­ci­sion mak­ing and greater con­ti­nu­ity at gov­er­nance-level. The in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment is dy­namic and com­plex and as guardians of th­ese in­vest­ments, trustees need to ex­er­cise wellinformed and ac­tive judg­ment.’’

Feed­back, in­clud­ing from pre­vi­ous trustees and com­mu­nity lead­ers, had been over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive, he said.

Board­works In­ter­na­tional un­der­took the re­view and made rec­om­men­da­tions based on in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice for how the board could im­prove its cur­rent gov­er­nance ar­range­ments to fill skill and knowl­edge gaps and en­sure greater suc­ces­sion plan­ning.

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