TET candidates state their case

Seven candidates vying for three places on the Taranaki Electricity Trust have been grilled by an audience in Stratford.

Stratford Rotary Club organised Monday's meet the candidates night, which was chaired by Barrie Smith.

The seven men are contesting three places on Ward B of the trust.

Each candidate was asked what they would bring to the role and if they would have the time to devote to it.

Andrew Wood, a chartered accountant, said a good understanding of how the trust operated and the knowledge to read and understand financial documents were key attributes for a trustee, which he possessed.

He had been a trust member for 18 months, replacing the late Brick Mathieson.

Real estate business owner and farmer Matthew McDonald said the TET's funds was the community's money and the key for trustees was to understand how the community wanted it spent.

The community was not just Stratford, but Rawhitiroa, Kaponga and Eltham, McDonald said.

"I'm very passionate about the district - I have been here all my life," he said.

Real estate agent Wayne Burnnand, Stratford, said the TET Trust was Central and North Taranaki's most valuable asset.

"I want to help keep it for future generations. It is the way forward for large projects and gives help to the smaller groups who might otherwise miss out."

Joe Menzies, of Mangamingi, said his ongoing involvement as a founding member of both the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust and the Eltham and Districts Health Trust he knew just how important the TET was to the community.

"I would like to give something back by being part of the TET" he said.

John Campbell, a farmer, said it was important to be able to read and sum up applications for funding and then to go out and talk with people before making decisions.

Trustees also needed to have plenty of time available.

Graham Kelly had run his own business for 30 years and believed the trust needed to have new people coming on.

"I believe there should be a turn over, you need new blood, for the prosperity of the TET."

Current trust chairman Brian Jeffares said he had been a trust member of 18 years and chairman for 12.

"You have to know your community and if you haven't been out and about, you can't do it," he said.

He was Stratford mayor for nine years and a Taranaki Regional Councillor for seven and had various other roles including being part of the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust. "All that has given me a really good understanding of what this community is about. It's not about splinter groups," he said.

Voting papers for the election were posted out last Friday and will close at noon on June 6.

Taranaki Daily News